from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A yellowish, amorphous, elastic material obtained from the milky sap or latex of various tropical plants, especially the rubber tree, and vulcanized, pigmented, finished, and modified into products such as electric insulation, elastic bands and belts, tires, and containers. Also called caoutchouc, India rubber.
  • n. Any of numerous synthetic elastic materials of varying chemical composition with properties similar to those of natural rubber.
  • n. A low overshoe made of rubber.
  • n. Baseball The rectangular piece of hard rubber that the pitcher must remain in contact with when making a pitch.
  • n. Something made of rubber, as:
  • n. An eraser.
  • n. A tire.
  • n. A set of tires on a vehicle.
  • n. Slang A condom.
  • n. One that rubs, especially one that gives a massage.
  • n. A series of games of which two out of three or three out of five must be won to terminate the play.
  • n. An odd game played to break a tie.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Pliable material derived from the sap of the rubber tree; a hydrocarbon polymer of isoprene.
  • n. Synthetic materials with the same properties as natural rubber.
  • n. An eraser.
  • n. A condom.
  • n. ) Not covered by funds on account.
  • n. Someone or something which rubs.
  • n. The rectangular pad on the pitcher's mound from which the pitcher must pitch.
  • n. Water resistant shoe covers, galoshes, overshoes.
  • n. Tires, particularly racing tires.
  • n. A series of games or contests, especially a match consisting of the best of a series of three games in bridge or whist.
  • n. A series of an odd number of games or matches of which a majority must be won (thus precluding a tie).
  • n. A game or match played to break a tie.
  • n. The game of rubber bridge.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One who, or that which, rubs.
  • n. An instrument or thing used in rubbing, polishing, or cleaning.
  • n. A coarse file, or the rough part of a file.
  • n. A whetstone; a rubstone.
  • n. An eraser, usually made of caoutchouc or a synthetic rubber[4].
  • n. The cushion of an electrical machine.
  • n. One who performs massage, especially in a Turkish bath.
  • n. Something that chafes or annoys; hence, something that grates on the feelings; a sarcasm; a rub.
  • n. In some games, as bridge or whist, the odd game, as the third or the fifth, which decides the winner when there is a tie between the players; ; also, a contest determined by the winning of two out of three games.
  • n. India rubber; caoutchouc; gum elastic; -- also called natural rubber.
  • n. Any substance, whether natural or synthetic, resembling India rubber with respect to its elasticity[1].
  • n. A low-cut overshoe made of natural or synthetic rubber[4], serving to keep the feet and shoes dry when walking in the rain or on a wet surface; -- usually used in the plural.
  • n. A condom.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A person who rubs, or who practises rubbing of any kind as a business, as one employed in rubbing or polishing stone, one who attends and rubs down horses (as those used for racing), one who practises massage, etc.
  • n. An instrument, substance, or stuff used for rubbing, or cleaning or polishing by friction.
  • n. A piece of caoutchouc used to erase pencil-marks from paper, etc. From this, the first use to which caoutchouc was put, it came to be called rubber, or India rubber (now india-rubber). See def. 3.
  • n. A brush consisting of wool, felt, chamois-skin, or other substance fastened to a back, used for erasing chalk from a blackboard or slate.
  • n. In stone-work: An implement used in grinding or polishing. In the moldings of stone, an iron rubber mounted on a wooden stock is employed for fillets, beads, and astragals. These rubbers have convex or concave faces, according to the required contour of the work. A stone or wooden block covered with thick felt is used for polishing stone and marble. E. H. Knight. An implement for polishing marble, consisting of a mass of rags compressed by screws in an iron frame.
  • n. A tool for rubbing or flattening down the seams of a sail in sail-making.
  • n. The cushion of an electric machine, by friction against which the plate becomes charged with one kind of electricity and the rubber with the opposite kind. The rubber is made of horsehair, and covered with leather overlaid with a metallic preparation, sometimes consisting of the bisulphid of tin, or an amalgam, usually of zinc, tin, and mercury.
  • n. A whetstone, rubstone, or rubbing-stone.
  • n. A coarse file, or the rough part of it.
  • n. A device for applying French polish to furniture, etc. It consists of a small ball of wadding covered with a linen rag. This is saturated with the varnish, and then covered with another rag moistened with oil. The varnish oozes gradually through the outside rag as the rubber is passed over the work with a uniform circular motion.
  • n. A grinding or abrading agent, as emery-cloth or glass-paper for surfacing plates.
  • n. The part of a wagon-lock which presses against the wheels.
  • n. India-rubber; caoutchouc. See def. 2 , and india-rubber.
  • n. Something made partly or wholly of india-rubber or caoutchouc.
  • n. An inequality of the ground in a bowling-green; a rub; hence, obstruction; difficulty; unpleasant collision in the business of life.
  • n. plural In the game of bowls, a contact or collision of two bowls.
  • n. A limited series of games, usually three, as at whist, in which the contest is decided by the winning of the greater number of games; also, the decisive game in such a series.
  • Made of caoutchouc or india-rubber; having caoutchouc as the principal component.
  • Caoutchouc in sheets.
  • To turn around to see something; to look out or about in an eager or awkward manner; in general, to look about.
  • To listen when others are talking through the telephone (on party lines).
  • n.
  • n.
  • n. See the extract.
  • n. The substance obtained by the coagulation of the latex of Hevea Brasiliensis, wherever grown. This is known commercially as cultivated Para. See Ceylon rubber.
  • n. See rubber shoddy.
  • n. One who turns around to see something; one who gazes or looks out eagerly: often used as an exclamation in mockery of one who turns to look at something.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an elastic material obtained from the latex sap of trees (especially trees of the genera Hevea and Ficus) that can be vulcanized and finished into a variety of products
  • n. a waterproof overshoe that protects shoes from water or snow
  • n. an eraser made of rubber (or of a synthetic material with properties similar to rubber); commonly mounted at one end of a pencil
  • n. contraceptive device consisting of a sheath of thin rubber or latex that is worn over the penis during intercourse
  • adj. returned for lack of funds
  • v. coat or impregnate with rubber
  • n. any of various synthetic elastic materials whose properties resemble natural rubber


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

From rub.
Origin unknown.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

In the sense of an eraser, rub +‎ -er; in the sense of pliable material, derived from the previous sense of eraser; the other senses derived from the pliable material sense.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Origin unknown.



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  • "To listen when others are talking through the telephone (on party lines)."

    -- from the Century

    March 23, 2014

  • "The talker waited while the crowd rubbered."

    - Nightmare Alley, William Lindsay Gresham

    June 30, 2012

  • Amusing about rubber launching her, though. Brings to mind ballistics. Wheeee!

    April 26, 2011

  • I assume it's referring to cash crops?

    April 26, 2011

  • "The rubber launched her, and grapefruits and cassavas also helped send her on her way." -- from the Wordnik examples under cassavas.

    April 26, 2011