- 1 [transitive, intransitive] to move your hand, or something such as a cloth, backwards and forwards over a surface while pressing firmly rub something She rubbed her chin thoughtfully. He rubbed a hand wearily over his eyes. rub something/yourself with something Rub the surface with sandpaper before painting. I rubbed a clear patch on the window with my fingers. rub something/yourself against something The cat rubbed itself against my legs. rub at something I rubbed at the stain on the cloth. rub against something Animals had been rubbing against the trees. rub something/yourself + adj. Rub the surface smooth. She rubbed her hair dry quickly with a towel.
- 2 [transitive, intransitive] to press two surfaces against each other and move them backwards and forwards; to be pressed together and move in this way rub something (together) She rubbed her hands in delight. In some cultures, people traditionally greet each other by rubbing noses. rub (together) It sounded like two pieces of wood rubbing together.
- 3 [intransitive, transitive] (of a surface) to move backwards and forwards many times against something while pressing it, especially causing pain or damage The back of my shoe is rubbing. rub on/against something The wheel is rubbing on the mudguard. rub something (+ adj.) The horse's neck was rubbed raw (= until the skin came off) where the rope had been.
- 4 [transitive] rub something + adv./prep. to spread a liquid or other substance over a surface while pressing firmly She rubbed the lotion into her skin. Rub salt over the fish before cooking. More Like This Consonant-doubling verbs bob, club, dub, grab, rub, sob, throb kid, nod, pad, plod, prod, shred, skid, thud beg, blog, bug, drag, drug, flag, hug, jog, log, mug, nag, plug bar, confer, infer, occur, prefer, refer, star, stir, transfer acquit, admit, allot, chat, clot, commit, jut, knit, pat, regret, rot, spot, submit (in British English:) appal, cancel, channel, control, counsel, enrol, equal, excel, fuel, fulfil, label, level, marvel, model, pedal, quarrel, signal, travelSee worksheet. Word Origin Middle English (as a verb): perhaps from Low German rubben, of unknown ultimate origin. The noun dates from the late 16th cent.Extra examples Corbett rubbed his eyes wearily. He began to rub his hands together in glee. He gently rubbed his swollen nose. He rubbed his face briskly with the towel. I rubbed my glasses with my handkerchief. Put a little cream onto each hand and rub it in well. Rub the cream well into your skin. She rubbed her hands on her apron. She stood up, rubbing at her back. The cat rubbed against my legs. Rub some salt on the fish before cooking. She rubbed moisturizer into her skin. The horse’s neck was rubbed raw where the rope had been.Idioms (informal) to have no money; to be very stupid, etc. (informal) to keep reminding somebody in an unkind way of their past mistakes to make a difficult experience even more difficult for somebody
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BrE BrE//rʌb//; NAmE NAmE//rʌb//Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they rub
BrE BrE//rʌb//; NAmE NAmE//rʌb//he / she / it rubs
BrE BrE//rʌbz//; NAmE NAmE//rʌbz//past simple rubbed
BrE BrE//rʌbd//; NAmE NAmE//rʌbd//past participle rubbed
BrE BrE//rʌbd//; NAmE NAmE//rʌbd//-ing form rubbing
BrE BrE//ˈrʌbɪŋ//; NAmE NAmE//ˈrʌbɪŋ//
to meet and spend time with a famous person, socially or as part of your job He’s rubbing shoulders with stars all the time.
(informal) to make somebody annoyed or angry, often without intending to, by doing or saying something that offends them She tends to rub people up the wrong way. See related entries: Anger Phrasal Verbsrub alongrub down somebodyrub somethingdownrub it inrub offrub somethingoff (something)rub somebodyoutrub somethingout