What does rub mean?

Definitions for rub

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word rub.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. hang-up, hitch, rub, snagnoun

    an unforeseen obstacle

  2. rub, wipeverb

    the act of rubbing or wiping

    "he gave the hood a quick rub"

  3. rubverb

    move over something with pressure

    "rub my hands"; "rub oil into her skin"

  4. rub, fray, fret, chafe, scratchverb

    cause friction

    "my sweater scratches"

  5. rub, scratch, itchverb

    scrape or rub as if to relieve itching

    "Don't scratch your insect bites!"


  1. rubnoun

    An act of rubbing.

    Give that lamp a good rub and see if any genies come out

  2. rubnoun

    A difficulty or problem.

    Therein lies the rub.

  3. rubnoun

    In the game of crown green bowls: any obstacle by which a bowl is diverted from its normal course.

  4. rubnoun

    A mixture of spices applied to meat before it is barbecued.

  5. rubverb

    To move one object while maintaining contact with another object over some area.

  6. rubverb

    To rub something against.

    I rubbed the glass with the cloth.

  7. rubverb

    To rub against something.

    My shoes are beginning to rub.

  8. Etymology: From. Cognate with rubben, rubbeling, and rubba, rubbe.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

Webster Dictionary

  1. Rubverb

    to subject (a body) to the action of something moving over its surface with pressure and friction, especially to the action of something moving back and forth; as, to rub the flesh with the hand; to rub wood with sandpaper

  2. Rubverb

    to move over the surface of (a body) with pressure and friction; to graze; to chafe; as, the boat rubs the ground

  3. Rubverb

    to cause (a body) to move with pressure and friction along a surface; as, to rub the hand over the body

  4. Rubverb

    to spread a substance thinly over; to smear

  5. Rubverb

    to scour; to burnish; to polish; to brighten; to cleanse; -- often with up or over; as, to rub up silver

  6. Rubverb

    to hinder; to cross; to thwart

  7. Rubverb

    to move along the surface of a body with pressure; to grate; as, a wheel rubs against the gatepost

  8. Rubverb

    to fret; to chafe; as, to rub upon a sore

  9. Rubverb

    to move or pass with difficulty; as, to rub through woods, as huntsmen; to rub through the world

  10. Rubnoun

    the act of rubbing; friction

  11. Rubnoun

    that which rubs; that which tends to hinder or obstruct motion or progress; hindrance; obstruction, an impediment; especially, a difficulty or obstruction hard to overcome; a pinch

  12. Rubnoun

    inequality of surface, as of the ground in the game of bowls; unevenness

  13. Rubnoun

    something grating to the feelings; sarcasm; joke; as, a hard rub

  14. Rubnoun

    imperfection; failing; fault

  15. Rubnoun

    a chance

  16. Rubnoun

    a stone, commonly flat, used to sharpen cutting tools; a whetstone; -- called also rubstone

  17. Etymology: [Probably of Celtic origin; cf. W. rhwbiaw, gael. rub.]


  1. Rub

    Rub is a thick dark brown, very sweet syrup extracted from dates or carob. It is used widely in Libya, usually with Asida as well as many other Middle Eastern countries.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Rub

    rub, v.t. to move something over the surface of with pressure or friction: to clean, polish, or smooth, by passing something over: to wipe: to scour: to remove by friction (with off, out): to erase or obliterate (with out): to touch hard, fret: at bowls, to touch the jack with the bowl.—v.i. to move along with pressure, friction, or difficulty: to get through difficulties: to grate, to fret:—pr.p. rub′bing; pa.t. and pa.p. rubbed.—n. the act of rubbing: that which rubs: a collision: an obstruction: difficulty: a pinch: a joke: a sarcasm: a flaw: a rubber at cards.—ns. Rub′-a-dub, the sound of the drum when beaten; Rub′-ī′ron, a wheel-guard, or wheel-guard plate; Rub′stone, a whetstone: a coarse-grained sandstone used for sharpening instruments.—Rubbed work, work in stone smoothed by rubbing with gritstone; Rub down, to rub from top to bottom; Rub in, to force into the pores of by friction: to reiterate or emphasise; Rub out, to erase; Rub the wrong way, to irritate by opposition; Rub up, to polish: to freshen the memory. [Most prob. Celt.; Gael. rub, W. rhwbio, to rub, to grind.]

Suggested Resources

  1. RUB

    What does RUB stand for? -- Explore the various meanings for the RUB acronym on the Abbreviations.com website.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. RUB

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Rub is ranked #69170 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Rub surname appeared 284 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Rub.

    84.1% or 239 total occurrences were White.
    11.9% or 34 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    2.8% or 8 total occurrences were Asian.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'rub' in Written Corpus Frequency: #4413

  2. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'rub' in Verbs Frequency: #673

How to pronounce rub?

How to say rub in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of rub in Chaldean Numerology is: 1

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of rub in Pythagorean Numerology is: 5

Examples of rub in a Sentence

  1. Dick Bove:

    He's trying to swing way above the weight of the Minneapolis Fed. He didn't come from California just to rub elbows with ranchers in Helena.

  2. Joaquin Phoenix:

    I knew about that scene from the Bible, but I guess I had never really considered it, when I got there, I thought : I'm not going to rub dirt in her eyes. Who the f * ! # would do that ? It doesn't make any sense. That is a horrible introduction to seeing.

  3. Mat Staver:

    Because that in Kim Davis understanding and mind is authorizing something that is contrary to Kim Davis Christian values and convictions, that's where the conscience rub is.

  4. Samuel Hoffenstein:

    When you're away, I'm restless, lonely, wretched, bored, dejected only here's the rub, my darling dear, I feel the same when you're near.

  5. Erik Jensen:

    When she would look over my shoulder a couple of times, her breast would rub on my shoulder, sometimes she would bend over in front of everyone knowing there’s people behind her. And you’re in an all-male facility.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for rub

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"rub." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 24 Mar. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/rub>.

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    a custom among some peoples whereby the husband of a pregnant wife is put to bed at the time of bearing the child
    • A. howdah
    • B. couvade
    • C. urus
    • D. imperviousness

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