Stories We Like: Novels For Language Lovers
"rub hard," early 15c., earlier shrubben (c.1300), perhaps from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German schrubben "to scrub," or from an unrecorded Old English cognate, or from a Scandinavian source (cf. Danish skrubbe "to scrub"), probably ultimately from the Proto-Germanic root of shrub, used as a cleaning tool (cf. the evolution of broom, brush (n.1)).
Meaning "to cancel" is attested from 1828 (popularized during World War II with reference to flights), probably from notion of "to rub out, erase" an entry on a listing. Related: Scrubbed; scrubbing.
late 14c., "low, stunted tree," variant of shrobbe (see shrub), perhaps influenced by a Scandinavian word (cf. Danish dialectal skrub "a stunted tree, brushwood"). Collective sense "brush, shrubs" is attested from 1805. As an adjective from 1710. Scrub oak recorded from 1766.
Transferred sense of "mean, insignificant fellow" is from 1580s; U.S. sports meaning "athlete not on the varsity team" is recorded from 1892, probably from this, but cf. scrub "hard-working servant, drudge" (1709), perhaps from influence of scrub (v.).
"act of scrubbing," 1620s, from scrub (v.). Meaning "thing that is used in scrubbing" is from 1680s.
To cancel or eliminate: They were forced to scrub the whole plan
[1828+; popularized by military use during World War II]
[ultimately fr scrub, ''shrub, a low, stunted tree''; the quoted 1990s teenager use is an interesting survival or perhaps a revival based on the second sense]
diverse assortment of vegetation types sharing the common physical characteristic of dominance by shrubs. A shrub is defined as a woody plant not exceeding 5 metres (16.4 feet) in height if it has a single main stem, or 8 metres if it is multistemmed. The world's main areas of scrubland occur in regions that have a Mediterranean climate-i.e., warm temperate, with mild, wet winters and long, dry summers. These areas include southern Australia, the Mediterranean region, California, Chile, and South Africa. Other scrublands are found in the semiarid tropics and in the Arctic, but smaller areas also occur in many other places. Australia, primarily because of its dry, variable climates, probably has the greatest expanse and range of scrublands. Their distribution is shown in