rub (verb) past tense: rubbed LISTEN
Rub means ‘to put friction on something that you are massaging or polishing.’
- The masseuse rubbed oil on Cecily's back.
- Robert rubbed the teapot with a cloth and silver polish.
- If you rub my back, I'll rub yours.
Rub also means ‘to move two things together with friction.’
- When Sharon gained weight, her thighs rubbed together when she walked.
- The child rubbed her cold hands together while she waited for the school bus.
dry rub: a combination of spices that are rubbed on a piece of meat before it is cooked. Example: “The chef rubbed the dry rub on the pork ribs the night before he barbecued them.”
rub the wrong way: to irritate or offend. Example: “Irene’s bad manners rubbed Brian the wrong way.”
Did you know?
Rub out means ‘to erase,’ for example, “Ted rubbed out the wrong answer and corrected it.” But rub out can also mean ‘to murder,’ for example, “The criminal rubbed out the informant.” This is an old meaning, but you may hear it in film noir movies of the 1940s.
In pop culture
Rub it in is an idiom that means ‘repeat something unpleasant to annoy someone.’ But in this song, the singer wants his girlfriend to literally rub the lotion into his skin. Listen to Billy Crash Craddock sing “Rub It In.”