1 [skruhb]
verb (used with object), scrubbed, scrubbing.
to rub hard with a brush, cloth, etc., or against a rough surface in washing.
to subject to friction; rub.
to remove (dirt, grime, etc.) from something by hard rubbing while washing.
Chemistry. to remove (impurities or undesirable components) from a gas by chemical means, as sulfur dioxide from smokestack gas or carbon dioxide from exhaled air in life-support packs.
to cancel or postpone (a space flight or part of a mission): Ground control scrubbed the spacewalk.
Slang. to do away with; cancel: Scrub your vacation plans—there's work to do!
verb (used without object), scrubbed, scrubbing.
to cleanse something by hard rubbing.
to cleanse one's hands and arms as a preparation to performing or assisting in surgery (often followed by up ).
an act or instance of scrubbing.
a canceled or postponed space flight, launching, scheduled part of a space mission, etc.
something, as a cosmetic preparation, used for scrubbing.

1300–50; Middle English scrobben (noun) < Middle Dutch schrobben

scrubbable, adjective
nonscrubbable, adjective Unabridged


2 [skruhb]
low trees or shrubs collectively.
a large area covered with low trees and shrubs, as the Australian bush.
a domestic animal of mixed or inferior breeding; mongrel.
a small or insignificant person.
anything undersized or inferior.
Sports. a player not belonging to the varsity or regular team; a player who is not first-string.
small, undersized, or stunted.
inferior or insignificant.
abounding in or covered with low trees and shrubs: They rode through scrub country.

1350–1400; Middle English < Scandinavian; compare dialectal Danish skrub brushwood; see shrub1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
scrub1 (skrʌb)
vb (foll by up) , scrubs, scrubbing, scrubbed
1.  to rub (a surface) hard, with or as if with a brush, soap, and water, in order to clean it
2.  to remove (dirt), esp by rubbing with a brush and water
3.  (of a surgeon) to wash the hands and arms thoroughly before operating
4.  (tr) to purify (a vapour or gas) by removing impurities
5.  informal (tr) to delete or cancel
6.  slang (intr) horse racing (of jockeys) to urge a horse forwards by moving the arms and whip rhythmically forwards and backwards alongside its neck
7.  the act of or an instance of scrubbing
[C14: from Middle Low German schrubben, or Middle Dutch schrobben]

scrub2 (skrʌb)
1.  a.  vegetation consisting of stunted trees, bushes, and other plants growing in an arid area
 b.  (as modifier): scrub vegetation
2.  an area of arid land covered with such vegetation
3.  a.  an animal of inferior breeding or condition
 b.  (as modifier): a scrub bull
4.  a small or insignificant person
5.  anything stunted or inferior
6.  (US), (Canadian) sport a player not in the first team
7.  informal (Austral) the scrub a remote place, esp one where contact with people can be avoided
8.  small, stunted, or inferior
9.  (US), (Canadian) sport
 a.  (of a player) not in the first team
 b.  (of a team) composed of such players
 c.  (of a contest) between scratch or incomplete teams
[C16: variation of shrub1]

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

"rub hard," c.1300, perhaps from M.Du. or M.L.G. schrubben "to scrub," or from an unrecorded O.E. cognate, or from a Scand. source (cf. Dan. skrubbe "to scrub"), probably ult. from some cognate of shrub, used as a cleaning tool (cf. the evolution of broom, brush). Meaning "to cancel" is attested from
1828 (popularized during World War II with ref. to flights), probably from notion of "to rub out, erase." The noun is recorded from 1621.

"brush, shrubs," late 14c., "low, stunted tree," variant of shrobbe (see shrub), perhaps infl. by a Scandinavian word (cf. Dan. dial. skrub "a stunted tree, brushwood"). Collective sense is attested from 1805. Transferred sense of "mean, insignificant fellow" is from 1580s;
U.S. sports meaning "athlete not on the varsity team" is recorded from 1892.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


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

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Wash the mussels well and scrub the shells with a brush.
But on occasion rescue teams arrive on scene in time to scrub the birds'
  feathers clean and prevent calamity.
Once the water cools, plunge the silver pieces into warm, soapy water and scrub
  with a clean cloth.
She also was able to scrub in to observe medical procedures.
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