scrub

[skruhb]

What does scrub mean?

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No scrubs allowed around here. Scrub is slang for someone who is just plain bad at something—a no-talent hack. This could be in sports, video games, or thanks to TLC's hit song, relationships.

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Examples of scrub

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Examples of scrub
Boy has been filling my DM’s for the last month then boy posts long ass statement about how in love he is wit his boo 🤔 I am confusion. That poor chica is dating a MF scrub.
@m_smitty, September 2018
[Tristan] Thompson has never been an elite player, but ever since he started dated Khloe, his performances have really gone downhill. He’s not the great offensive rebounder he once was, and is looking more and more like an overpaid scrub.
Nemanja Vukasinovic, Fadeaway World, August 2018

Where does scrub come from?

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Scrub has been slang for an “insignificant or contemptible person” since the 1500s. Over the centuries, the term was used as a slur to denigrate prostitutes and even black people for a time. In the late 1800s, scrub was being used by athletes to deride inferior opponents. They probably threw like scrubs, anyway.

In the 1990s, R&B girl group, TLC, helped make scrub the household term seemingly every woman in the 2000s used to describe broke dudes. On the chorus of their 1999 track “No Scrubs,” TLC bops: No, I don’t want no scrubs / A scrub is a guy that can’t get no love from me / Hangin’ out the passenger side of his best friend’s ride / Trying to holla at me.”

Scrub spread to video game culture in the 2010s, seeing heavy use on Steam, GameFAQs, and Reddit. Early on, it was especially used in fighting game communities for a poor or new player, (noob) but since expanded into other genres.

The term derives from a form of shrub, which, now that we think of it, makes sense. Nobody wants to date or hang out with a shrub, either.

Who uses scrub?

Scrub is a general insult for someone who is bad at something. It can be applied in a range of contexts, from sports to video games to dating. Regarding the latter, a scrub usually refers to a man, though women aren’t exempt from the “lowlife” insult.

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