the point, gist, or heart of something.
a knob or protuberance.
a lump or small piece: a nub of coal; a nub of pencil.
a small mass of fibers produced on a card, dyed brilliant colors, and introduced into yarn during the spinning process.
Also, knub.

1585–95; < Low German, Middle Low German knubbe; cf. knob Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
nub (nʌb)
1.  a small lump or protuberance
2.  a small piece or chunk
3.  the point or gist: the nub of a story
4.  a small fibrous knot in yarn
[C16: variant of knub, from Middle Low German knubbeknob]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1594, variant of dialectal knub, probably a variant of knob. Figurative meaning "point, gist" first recorded 1834.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Its long, leathery neck can stretch to the length of a baseball bat or recoil to a wrinkled nub.
It features a soft rubber nub so it won't defile your screen.
She could, if she concentrated, recall the exact pressure of his tongue and teeth on her nub of flesh.
Here was the nub of their quarrel: subversion versus corruption.
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