rub ( rubs plural & 3rd person present) ( rubbing present participle) ( rubbed past tense & past participle )
1 verb If you rub a part of your body, you move your hand or fingers backwards and forwards over it while pressing firmly.
He rubbed his arms and stiff legs... V n
`I fell in a ditch', he said, rubbing at a scrape on his hand. V prep/adv
2 verb If you rubagainst a surface or rub a part of your body against a surface, you move it backwards and forwards while pressing it against the surface.
A cat was rubbing against my leg... V prep
He kept rubbing his leg against mine. V n prep
3 verb If you rub an object or a surface, you move a cloth backward and forward over it in order to clean or dry it.
She took off her glasses and rubbed them hard... V n
He rubbed and rubbed but couldn't seem to get clean. V
4 verb If you rub a substance into a surface or rub something such as dirt from a surface, you spread it over the surface or remove it from the surface using your hand or something such as a cloth.
He rubbed oil into my back... V n prep
5 verb If you rub two things together or if they rubtogether, they move backwards and forwards, pressing against each other.
He rubbed his hands together a few times. V n together
...the 650-mile rift that separates the Pacific and North American geological plates as they rub together. V together
6 verb If something you are wearing or holding rubs, it makes you sore because it keeps moving backwards and forwards against your skin.
Smear cream on to your baby's skin at the edges of the plaster to prevent it from rubbing. V
7 n-sing Rub is used in expressions such as there's the rub and the rub is when you are mentioning a difficulty that makes something hard or impossible to achieve.
FORMAL the N
`What do you want to write about?'. And there was the rub, because I didn't yet know.
8 n-count A massage can be referred to as a rub.
She sometimes asks if I want a back rub.
10 If you rub shoulders with famous people, you meet them and talk to them. You can also say that you rub elbows with someone, especially in American English.
rub shoulders/elbows with someone phrase V inflects, PHR n
He regularly rubbed shoulders with the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Kylie Minogue.
11 If you rub someone up the wrong way in British English, or rub someone the wrong way in American English, you offend or annoy them without intending to.
rub sb up the wrong way phrase V inflects
What are you going to get out of him if you rub him up the wrong way?
to rub someone's nose in it
to rub salt into the wound
salt rub in
1 phrasal verb If you rub a substance in, you press it into something by continuously moving it over its surface.
When hair is dry, rub in a little oil to make it smooth and glossy. V P n (not pron), Also V n P
2 phrasal verb If someone keeps reminding you of something you would rather forget you can say that they are rubbingitin.
Officials couldn't resist rubbing it in... V n P
The home side rubbed in their superiority with a further goal. V P n (not pron) rub off phrasal verb If someone's qualities or habits rub off on you, you develop some of their qualities or habits after spending time with them.
He was a tremendously enthusiastic teacher and that rubbed off on all the children... V P on n
I was hoping some of his genius might rub off. V P rub out phrasal verb If you rub out something that you have written on paper or a board, you remove it using a rubber or eraser.
She began rubbing out the pencilled marks in the margin. V P n (not pron)