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]

scrubs (skrʌbs)
pl n
the hygienic clothing worn by surgeons and other operating theatre staff during an operation

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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Example sentences
He was wearing the type of hospital scrubs with the drawstring tie fly and
  nothing under them.
Two popular ingredients for homemade skin scrubs are oatmeal and sugar.
It absorbs odors and cuts through grease, and its gritty texture scrubs away
  stubborn patches.
It drips it down, along with optional cleaning fluid, and scrubs smooth
  surfaces clean.
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