Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To dig up by or as if by the roots.
  • intransitive verb To clear of roots and stumps by digging.
  • intransitive verb Slang To obtain by importunity.
  • intransitive verb To dig in the earth.
  • intransitive verb To search laboriously by or as if by digging; rummage.
  • intransitive verb To toil arduously; drudge.
  • noun The thick wormlike larva of certain beetles and other insects.
  • noun A drudge.
  • noun Slang Food.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To dig in or under the ground; hence, to work hard in any way; especially, to make laborious research; search or study closely.
  • To eat; take a meal: as, it is time to grub.
  • To dig; dig up by the roots: frequently followed by up or out: as, to grub up shrubs or weeds.
  • To supply with food; provide with victuals.
  • noun In cricket, a ball bowled along the ground. Also called, in the slang of cricket, sneaker and daisy-cutter.
  • noun The larva of an insect; especially, the larva of a beetle: as, the white-grub (the larva of Lachnosterna fusca). Also grubworm.
  • noun A short thick man; a dwarf: in contempt.
  • noun Something to eat; victuals; a provision of food (as the product of grubbing or hard work).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To dig; to dig up by the roots; to root out by digging; -- followed by up.
  • transitive verb Slang To supply with food.
  • intransitive verb To dig in or under the ground, generally for an object that is difficult to reach or extricate; to be occupied in digging.
  • intransitive verb To drudge; to do menial work.
  • noun (Zoöl.) The larva of an insect, especially of a beetle; -- called also grubworm. See Illust. of Goldsmith beetle, under goldsmith.
  • noun obsolete A short, thick man; a dwarf.
  • noun Slang Victuals; food.
  • noun a kind of mattock used in grubbing up roots, etc.
  • noun Same as Grub hook (below).
  • noun a heavy hoe for grubbing.
  • noun a plowlike implement for uprooting stumps, breaking roots, etc.
  • noun a handsaw used for sawing marble.
  • noun a street in London (now called Milton Street), described by Dr. Johnson as “much inhabited by writers of small histories, dictionaries, and temporary poems, whence any mean production is called grubstreet.” As an adjective, suitable to, or resembling the production of, Grub Street.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun countable An immature stage in the life cycle of an insect; a larva.
  • noun uncountable, slang Food.
  • noun obsolete A short, thick man; a dwarf.
  • verb To scavenge or in some way scrounge, typically for food.

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

  • verb ask for and get free; be a parasite
  • noun informal terms for a meal
  • verb search about busily
  • noun a soft thick wormlike larva of certain beetles and other insects

Etymologies

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

[Middle English grubben, from Old English *grybban; see ghrebh- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From hypothetical Old English root grubbian, from Proto-Germanic *grubbjan (compare Old High German grubilon "to dig, search," German grübeln "to meditate, ponder"), from Proto-Germanic *grub- (“to dig”). The noun sense of "larva" (c.1400) may derive from the notion of "digging insect" or from the possibly unrelated Middle English grub "dwarfish fellow." The slang sense of "food" is first recorded 1659, has been linked with birds eating grubs or with bub "drink."

Examples

  • I use the term grub in its broadest and most comprehensive sense.

    Remarks

  • Any my wife can't stop complaining about what I call my grub scrubs: an admittedly ill-fitting pair of shorts that are held together with a safety pin - three actually clipped together - a pair of purple, grass-stained Chuck Taylors and a wife-beater that no longer completely covers my mid-section.

    Lawrence Shulruff: Recessionary Crisis? How about mid-life crisis in a recession?

  • Variety in the grub is a welcome to the men as nuggets.

    HOUSEKEEPING IN THE KLONDIKE

  • "It's food -- what you call grub," explained Hassan proudly.

    Afterwards

  • Variety in the grub is a welcome to the men as nuggets.

    Housekeeping In The Klondike

  • "But keepin 'grub back an hour ain't goin' to hurt none, I reckon."

    All Gold Cañon

  • I can take my medicine an 'lick the spoon, but three days' grub is drawin 'it a shade fine, that's all, an' I hereby register my kick.

    The Passing of Marcus O'Brien

  • "But keepin 'grub back an hour ain't goin' to hurt none, I reckon."

    All Gold Canon

  • "Remember, my last bit of grub is yours," he reassured her, still holding her hand.

    CHAPTER I

  • Oh, I'm Del Bishop, pocket-miner; and if ever we run across each other, remember I'd give you the last shirt -- I mean, remember my last bit of grub is yours.

    CHAPTER I

Comments

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  • "Grub, ho!" now cried the landlord, flinging open a door, and in we went to breakfast.

    - Melville, Moby-Dick, ch. 5

    July 23, 2008

  • To: Dr., et al.

    Re: Grub

    Ma had a hamburger

    Later, Dot.

    October 18, 2008

  • My bootloader. :-)

    October 19, 2008

  • "In cricket, a ball bowled along the ground. Also called, in the slang of cricket, sneaker and daisy-cutter." --CD&C

    January 30, 2012