Definitions

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

  • intransitive verb To rub hard in order to clean.
  • intransitive verb To remove (dirt or stains) by hard rubbing.
  • intransitive verb To remove impurities from (a gas) chemically.
  • intransitive verb Slang To cancel or abandon; drop.
  • intransitive verb To clean or wash something by hard rubbing.
  • noun The act or an instance of scrubbing.
  • noun A preparation or product used in scrubbing.
  • noun The articles of clothing that make up a scrub suit.
  • noun Vegetation consisting chiefly of shrubs and small trees.
  • noun An area covered with such vegetation.
  • noun A domestic animal that is feral or not purebred.
  • noun Slang A contemptible or incompetent person.
  • noun Sports A player not on the varsity or first team.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A bush; shrub; a tree or shrub seemingly or really stunted.
  • noun Collectively, bushes; brushwood; underwood; stunted forest.
  • noun A worn-out brush; a stunted broom.
  • noun One who labors hard and lives meanly; a drudge; a mean or common fellow.
  • noun A worn-out or worthless horse, ox, or other animal, or one of a common or inferior breed.
  • noun 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.
  • noun A scrubbing.

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

  • intransitive verb To rub anything hard, especially with a wet brush; to scour; hence, to be diligent and penurious.
  • transitive verb 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.
  • adjective Mean; dirty; contemptible; scrubby.
  • adjective a game, as of ball, by unpracticed players.
  • adjective a race between scrubs, or between untrained animals or contestants.
  • noun One who labors hard and lives meanly; a mean fellow.
  • noun Something small and mean.
  • noun A worn-out brush.
  • noun A thicket or jungle, often specified by the name of the prevailing plant
  • noun (Stock Breeding), U.S. One of the common live stock of a region of no particular breed or not of pure breed, esp. when inferior in size, etc.
  • noun Australia & South Africa 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.
  • noun (Forestry) A low, straggling tree of inferior quality.
  • noun (Zoöl.) an Australian passerine bird of the family Atrichornithidæ, as Atrichia clamosa; -- called also brush bird.
  • noun (Bot.) the popular name of several dwarfish species of oak. The scrub oak of New England and the Middle States is Quercus ilicifolia, a scraggy shrub; that of the Southern States is a small tree (Q. Catesbæi); that of the Rocky Mountain region is Q. undulata, var. Gambelii.
  • noun (Zoöl.) an Australian singing bird of the genus Drymodes.

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

  • adjective Mean; dirty; contemptible; scrubby.
  • noun One who labors hard and lives meanly; a mean fellow.
  • noun One who is a freak or unable to complete easy tasks.
  • noun A thicket or jungle, often specified by the name of the prevailing plant; as, oak scrub, palmetto scrub, etc.
  • noun US, stock breeding 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.
  • noun Vegetation of inferior quality, though sometimes thick and impenetrable, growing in poor soil or in sand; also, brush.
  • noun One not on the first team of players, a substitute.
  • verb transitive 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.
  • verb intransitive To rub anything hard, especially with a wet brush; to scour;

Etymologies

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

[Middle English scrobben, to currycomb a horse, from Middle Dutch schrobben, to clean by rubbing, scrape; see sker- in Indo-European roots.]

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

[Middle English, variant of schrubbe; see shrub.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

This definition is lacking an etymology or has an incomplete etymology. You can help Wiktionary by giving it a proper etymology.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English scrobben ("groom a horse with a currycomb"); From Middle Dutch schrobben ("clean by scrubbing")

Examples

Comments

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

    December 6, 2006

  • 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

  • '. . . 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

  • 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