rubs on


verb (used with object), rubbed, rubbing.
to subject the surface of (a thing or person) to pressure and friction, as in cleaning, smoothing, polishing, coating, massaging, or soothing: to rub a table top with wax polish; to rub the entire back area.
to move (something) back and forth or with a rotary motion, as against or along another surface: to rub the cloth over the glass pane.
to spread or apply (something) with pressure and friction over something else or a person: to rub lotion on her chapped hands.
to move (two things) with pressure and friction over or back and forth over each other (often followed by together ): He rubbed his hands together.
to mark, polish, force, move, etc. (something) by pressure and friction (often followed by over, in, or into ).
to remove by pressure and friction; erase (often followed by off or out ).
verb (used without object), rubbed, rubbing.
to exert pressure and friction on something.
to move with pressure against something.
to admit of being rubbed in a specified manner: Chalk rubs off easily.
Chiefly British. to proceed, continue in a course, or keep going with effort or difficulty (usually followed by on, along, or through ): He manages to rub along.
an act or instance of rubbing: an alcohol rub.
something that annoys or irritates one's feelings, as a sharp criticism, a sarcastic remark, or the like: to resent rubs concerning one's character.
an annoying experience or circumstance.
an obstacle, impediment, or difficulty: We'd like to travel, but the rub is that we have no money.
a rough or abraded area caused by rubbing.
Verb phrases
rub down,
to smooth off, polish, or apply a coating to: to rub a chair down with sandpaper.
to give a massage to.
rub off on, to become transferred or communicated to by example or association: Some of his good luck must have rubbed off on me.
rub out,
to obliterate; erase.
Slang. to murder: They rubbed him out before he could get to the police.
rub it in, Informal. to emphasize or reiterate something unpleasant in order to tease or annoy: The situation was embarrassing enough without having you rub it in.
rub the wrong way, to irritate; offend; annoy: a manner that seemed to rub everyone the wrong way.
rub up, British Informal. to refresh one's memory of (a subject, language, etc.).

1300–50; 1860–65 for def 18b; Middle English rubben (v.); cognate with Frisian rubben, Danish rubbe, Swedish rubba

unrubbed, adjective
well-rubbed, adjective

14. hitch, catch, thing, trouble, pinch. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
rub (rʌb)
vb (foll by off, out, away, etc) (often foll by together) , rubs, rubbing, rubbed
1.  to apply pressure and friction to (something) with a circular or backward and forward motion
2.  to move (something) with pressure along, over, or against (a surface)
3.  to chafe or fray
4.  (tr) to bring into a certain condition by rubbing: rub it clean
5.  (tr) to spread with pressure, esp in order to cause to be absorbed: he rubbed ointment into his back
6.  (tr) to mix (fat) into flour with the fingertips, as in making pastry
7.  to remove or be removed by rubbing
8.  bowls (of a bowl) to be slowed or deflected by an uneven patch on the green
9.  to move against each other with pressure and friction (esp in the phrases rub one's hands, often a sign of glee, anticipation, or satisfaction, and rub noses, a greeting among Inuit people)
10.  informal rub someone's nose in it to remind someone unkindly of his failing or error
11.  rub up the wrong way to arouse anger (in); annoy
12.  informal rub shoulders with, rub elbows with to mix with socially or associate with
13.  the act of rubbing
14.  the rub an obstacle or difficulty (esp in the phrase there's the rub)
15.  something that hurts the feelings or annoys; rebuke
16.  bowls an uneven patch in the green
17.  any roughness or unevenness of surface
18.  a.  golf an incident of accidental interference with the ball
 b.  informal a piece of good or bad luck
[C15: perhaps from Low German rubben, of obscure origin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

late 14c., perhaps related to E.Fris. rubben "to scratch, rub," and Low Ger. rubbeling "rough, uneven," or similar words in Scandinavian (cf. Dan. rubbe "to rub, scrub," Norw. rubba), of uncertain origin. Hamlet's there's the rub (1602) preserves a noun sense of "obstacle, inequality on ground" first
recorded 1580s and common in 17c. To rub (someone) the wrong way is from 1883. To rub noses in greeting as a sign of friendship (attested from 1822) formerly was common among Eskimos, Maoris, and some other Pacific Islanders. Rub out "obliterate" is from 1560s; underworld slang sense of "kill" is recorded from 1848, Amer.Eng. Rub off "have an influence on" is recorded from 1959.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

rub (rŭb)

  1. The application of friction and pressure.

  2. Such a procedure applied to the body.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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