Definitions

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

  • intransitive verb To apply pressure and friction to (a surface).
  • intransitive verb To clean, polish, or manipulate by the application of pressure and friction.
  • intransitive verb To apply to a surface firmly and with friction.
  • intransitive verb To move (an object or objects) firmly along a surface, especially repeatedly.
  • intransitive verb To cause to become worn, chafed, or irritated.
  • intransitive verb To remove, erase, or expunge.
  • intransitive verb To exert pressure or friction on something.
  • intransitive verb To wear or chafe with friction.
  • intransitive verb To cause irritation or annoyance.
  • intransitive verb To move along in contact with a surface; graze or scrape.
  • intransitive verb To be transferred or removed by contact or proximity.
  • noun The act of rubbing.
  • noun The application of friction and pressure.
  • noun A substance or preparation applied by rubbing, especially.
  • noun A liniment or balm.
  • noun A seasoning made of ground spices and herbs, applied to the surface of meat, fish, or vegetables before cooking.
  • noun An unevenness on a surface.
  • noun An act or remark that annoys or hurts another.
  • noun A difficulty or obstacle.
  • idiom (elbows/shoulders) To mix or socialize closely.
  • idiom (rub (one's) hands) To experience or display pleased anticipation, self-satisfaction, or glee.
  • idiom (rub (someone's) nose in) To bring repeatedly and forcefully to another's attention.
  • idiom (rub (someone) the wrong way) To annoy; irritate.
  • idiom (rub up on) To refresh one's knowledge of.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To apply pressure with motion to the surface of; apply friction to by chafing or fretting with something else: as, to rub the face with a towel; to rub one hand with the other.
  • To smooth, polish, clean, or coat by means of friction or frictional applications: as, to rub brasses or silver; to rub a floor; to rub furniture.
  • To treat, act upon, or remove by frictional pressure; act with or upon by friction: with out, off, in, etc.: as, to rub out marks, spots, or stains; to rub off rust; to rub in a liniment; to rub up an ointment in a mortar.
  • To take an impression of by friction; apply frictional pressure to, as an engraved or sculptured figure or inscription, for the purpose of copying. See rubbing, 2.
  • Figuratively, to affect in any way as if by frictional contact or pressure; furbish; fret: as, to rub (usually rub up) one's memory; to rub one the wrong way. See phrases below.
  • To cause to move over another body with friction: as, to rub one's hand over a mirror.
  • To reduce or bring to smaller dimensions by friction; smooth or render less prominent by rubbing.
  • To spread by rubbing; diffuse over a surface with a rubbing instrument: as, to rub out paint.
  • To blend or otherwise prepare by trituration: as, to rub up an ointment.
  • To awaken or excite by effort; rouse; freshen: as, to rub up the memory.
  • To move or act with friction; exert frictional pressure in moving: as, to rub against or along something.
  • Figuratively, to proceed with friction or collision; do anything with more or less effort or difficulty: commonly with on, along, through, etc.
  • In the old game of bowls, to touch or graze the jack or another ball with the bowl or played ball.
  • noun An act or the action of rubbing; an application or occurrence of frictional contact: as, to take a rub with a towel; to give something a rub.
  • noun A metaphorical rubbing or chafing; an irritating or disturbing act or expression; interference; affront; sarcasm, gibe, or the like.
  • noun That which opposes or checks, as if from friction; any chafing or disturbing circumstance or predicament; an impediment, embarrassment, or stumbling-block; a pinch.
  • noun An unevenness of surface or character; a roughness or inequality; an imperfection; a flaw; a fault.
  • noun Inequality of the ground in a bowlinggreen.
  • noun In card-playing, same as rubber, 6.
  • noun A rubstone.
  • In needle-making, to straighten (a wire or needle) by rolling (it) while hot.—

Etymologies

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

[Middle English rubben.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English rubben. Cognate with Saterland Frisian rubje ("to rub, scrape"), Low German rubblig ("rough, uneven"), Icelandic and Norwegian rubba ("to scrape"), Danish rubbe ("to rub, scrub").

Examples

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