Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To rub hard in order to clean.
  • transitive v. To remove (dirt or stains) by hard rubbing.
  • transitive v. To remove impurities from (a gas) chemically.
  • transitive v. Slang To cancel or abandon; drop: We had to scrub our plans for vacation.
  • intransitive v. To clean or wash something by hard rubbing: Don't forget to scrub behind your ears.
  • n. The act or an instance of scrubbing.
  • n. The articles of clothing that make up a scrub suit.
  • scrub up To wash the hands and arms thoroughly, as before performing or participating in surgery.
  • n. A straggly, stunted tree or shrub.
  • n. A growth or tract of stunted vegetation.
  • n. An undersized or poorly developed domestic animal.
  • n. An undersized or insignificant person.
  • n. Sports A player not on the varsity or first team.
  • n. Australian Remote rural land; the bush.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Mean; dirty; contemptible; scrubby.
  • n. One who labors hard and lives meanly; a mean fellow.
  • n. One who is a freak or unable to complete easy tasks.
  • n. A thicket or jungle, often specified by the name of the prevailing plant; as, oak scrub, palmetto scrub, etc.
  • n. One of the common livestock of a region of no particular breed or not of pure breed, especially when inferior in size, etc. Often used to refer to male animals unsuited for breeding.
  • n. Vegetation of inferior quality, though sometimes thick and impenetrable, growing in poor soil or in sand; also, brush.
  • n. One not on the first team of players, a substitute.
  • v. To rub hard; to wash with rubbing; usually, to rub with a wet brush, or with something coarse or rough, for the purpose of cleaning or brightening; as, to scrub a floor, a doorplate.
  • v. To rub anything hard, especially with a wet brush; to scour;
  • v. To be diligent and penurious; as, to scrub hard for a living.
  • v. To call off a scheduled event; to cancel.
  • v. To eliminate or to correct data from a set of records to bring it inline with other similar datasets
  • v. To move a recording tape back and forth with a scrubbing-like motion to produce a scratching sound, or to do so by a similar use of a control on an editing system.
  • v. To maneuver the play position on a media editing system by using a scroll bar.
  • n. An instance of scrubbing.
  • n. A cancellation.
  • n. A worn-out brush.
  • n. One who scrubs.
  • n. Clothing worn while performing surgery.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Mean; dirty; contemptible; scrubby.
  • n. One who labors hard and lives meanly; a mean fellow.
  • n. Something small and mean.
  • n. A worn-out brush.
  • n. A thicket or jungle, often specified by the name of the prevailing plant
  • n. One of the common live stock of a region of no particular breed or not of pure breed, esp. when inferior in size, etc.
  • n. Vegetation of inferior quality, though sometimes thick and impenetrable, growing in poor soil or in sand; also, brush; -- called also scrub brush. See Brush, above.
  • n. A low, straggling tree of inferior quality.
  • intransitive v. To rub anything hard, especially with a wet brush; to scour; hence, to be diligent and penurious.
  • transitive v. To rub hard; to wash with rubbing; usually, to rub with a wet brush, or with something coarse or rough, for the purpose of cleaning or brightening.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A bush; shrub; a tree or shrub seemingly or really stunted.
  • n. Collectively, bushes; brushwood; underwood; stunted forest.
  • n. A worn-out brush; a stunted broom.
  • n. One who labors hard and lives meanly; a drudge; a mean or common fellow.
  • n. A worn-out or worthless horse, ox, or other animal, or one of a common or inferior breed.
  • n. Anything small and mean.
  • Of inferior breed or stunted growth; ill-conditioned; hence, scraggy; shabby; mean; scurvy; contemptible; small.
  • To rub hard, either with a brush or other instrument or a cloth, or with the bare hand, for the purpose of cleaning, scouring, or making bright; cleanse, scour, or polish by rubbing with something rough.
  • To cleanse, scour, or polish things by rubbing them with something rough or coarse; rub hard.
  • To drudge; grub: as, to scrub hard for a living.
  • n. A scrubbing.

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

  • adj. (of domestic animals) not selectively bred
  • v. clean with hard rubbing
  • v. wash thoroughly
  • n. the act of cleaning a surface by rubbing it with a brush and soap and water
  • v. postpone indefinitely or annul something that was scheduled
  • n. dense vegetation consisting of stunted trees or bushes

Etymologies

Middle English scrobben, to currycomb a horse, from Middle Dutch schrobben, to clean by rubbing, scrape; see sker-1 in Indo-European roots.
Middle English, variant of schrubbe; see shrub1.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
This definition is lacking an etymology or has an incomplete etymology. You can help Wiktionary by giving it a proper etymology. (Wiktionary)
From Middle English scrobben ("groom a horse with a currycomb"); From Middle Dutch schrobben ("clean by scrubbing") (Wiktionary)

Examples

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Comments

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  • It seems that NASA is using the word "scrub" meaning "postpone" in serious contexts, too. Usually referring to launches that have to be canceled because of weather conditions.

    They also use "scrub" in what appears to be middle voice: "Poor Weather Scrubs Tuesday Launch Try".

    August 25, 2009

  • '. . . for as to money, that is every body's that can get it.'
    'So, I think, is title.'
    'But it is not every scrub that can get it.'
    'Not quite.'
    —Robert Bage, 1796, Hermsprong

    March 21, 2009

  • In O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin novels, it's used as a noun to mean a person of poor behavior who treats others shabbily; something like what we might colloquially call a lame bastard.

    February 13, 2008

  • But not the verb. The noun. And I'm not getting a haircut neither.

    December 6, 2006