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

  • noun An open, flat-bottomed vessel, usually round and typically wider than it is deep, used for washing, packing, or storing.
  • noun The amount that such a vessel can hold.
  • noun The contents of such a vessel.
  • noun A bathtub.
  • noun Informal A bath taken in a bathtub.
  • noun Informal A wide, clumsy, slow-moving boat.
  • noun A bucket used for conveying ore or coal up a mine shaft.
  • noun A coal car used in a mine.
  • intransitive verb To pack or store in a tub.
  • intransitive verb To wash or bathe in a tub.
  • intransitive verb To take a bath.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An open wooden vessel made of staves, held together by hoops, surrounding a bottom: as, a wash-tub; a butter-tub; the tub in which the tow-line is coiled in a whale-boat.
  • noun The contents of a tub; as much as a tub will hold; as a measure of capacity, sometimes erroneously confounded with firkin.
  • noun Any wooden structure shaped like or resembling a tub.
  • noun A clumsy, slow boat or vessel: so called in contempt.
  • noun A boat used for practice-rowing.
  • noun A small cask for holding liquor, especially in the eighteenth century, and before the change in English revenue laws; such a cask in which brandy, gin, or the like was smuggled from the Continent.
  • noun A receptacle for water or other liquid for bathing the person. See bath-tub.
  • noun Hence, the act or process of bathing in a tub; specifically, a sponge-bath taken while standing in a tub.
  • noun Sweating in a heated tub, formerly the common mode of treatment of lues venerea. Compare powderiug-tub, 2.
  • noun In mining:
  • noun A bucket for raising ore from a mine.
  • noun A box, wagon, or tram for conveying coal from the working-face to the pit-bottom or gangway, or for underground haulage in general.
  • noun Same as keeve.
  • noun The top of a malt-kiln.
  • noun The gurnet.
  • To plant or set in a tub: as, to tub plants.
  • To bathe in a tub or bath.
  • In mining, to line (a shaft) with a casing of wood or iron. See tubbing.
  • To bathe or wash the person in a bathing-tub; especially, in colloquial use, to take the morning bath.
  • To row in a tub; practise in a tub. See tub, n.

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

  • intransitive verb colloq. To make use of a bathing tub; to lie or be in a bath; to bathe.
  • noun An open wooden vessel formed with staves, bottom, and hoops; a kind of short cask, half barrel, or firkin, usually with but one head, -- used for various purposes.
  • noun The amount which a tub contains, as a measure of quantity.
  • noun Any structure shaped like a tub: as, a certain old form of pulpit; a short, broad boat, etc., -- often used jocosely or opprobriously.
  • noun obsolete A sweating in a tub; a tub fast.
  • noun A small cask.
  • noun A box or bucket in which coal or ore is sent up a shaft; -- so called by miners.
  • noun [Obs.] an old mode of treatment for the venereal disease, by sweating in a close place, or tub, and fasting.
  • noun a horizontal water wheel, usually in the form of a short cylinder, to the circumference of which spiral vanes or floats, placed radially, are attached, turned by the impact of one or more streams of water, conducted so as to strike against the floats in the direction of a tangent to the cylinder.
  • transitive verb To plant or set in a tub.

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

  • noun A flat-bottomed vessel, of width similar to or greater than its height, used for storing or packing things, or for washing things in.
  • noun The contents or capacity of such a vessel.
  • noun A bathtub.
  • noun nautical, informal A slow-moving craft.
  • verb To pack or store something in a tub.


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

[Middle English, from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German tubbe.]


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  • But everything of that kind was brought abruptly to an end by a loud discordant blowing of horns and the hollow _tub, tub, tub_ of a number of rude drums; at which sounds the crowd around us broke up at once and retired, our little Hebe casting back at us more than one glance strongly indicative, as it seemed to me, of compassion.

    The Congo Rovers A Story of the Slave Squadron Harry Collingwood 1886

  • Perfectly delighted at the idea of standing face to face with a person of whom she had heard so much, Dora removed her high-necked apron, and throwing it across the tub so that the sleeves trailed upon the floor, was hurrying away, when her foot becoming accidentally entangled in the apron, she fell headlong to the floor, bringing with her _tub_, _suds_, _clothes_ and all!

    Dora Deane Mary Jane Holmes 1866

  • III. ii.59 (82,4) [in the tub] The method of cure for veneral complaints is grosly celled the _powdering tub_.

    Notes to Shakespeare — Volume 01: Comedies Samuel Johnson 1746

  • Over the tub is a big, deep shelf for the window, which sticks out from the rest of the house like a huge wood and glass wart.

    p_n_elrod: Into the depths! (:snicker!: She wrote "ballcock!") p_n_elrod 2010

  • Getting the dead cab-driver hooker into the tub is a real chore, though.


  • For example, the tub is the largest object in our bathroom, but it is tucked into an alcove.

    Archive 2007-02-01 regina doman 2007

  • For example, the tub is the largest object in our bathroom, but it is tucked into an alcove.

    The First Thing You See In A Room regina doman 2007

  • The point of this tub is to put it in a large, open space and to actually * see* the water overflowing.

    Overflow Bathtubs from Käsch 2009

  • This tub is not for all of you clumsy and broke people out there.

    Overflow Bathtubs from Käsch 2009

  • The exterior of the tub is painted in beautiful patterns or even unusual portraits which contribute to an original and personalized bathroom interior.

    Upholstered Bathtub: Comfortably Glamorous 2010


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  • In nautical jargon, an old, slow, or clumsy vessel.

    October 26, 2007

  • 17C slang for pulpit, hence tub-thumper.

    May 15, 2018