1 massage, knead, stroke; scour, scrub, scrape, abrade, chafe, clean; wipe, smooth, polish, shine, buff, burnish:
Rub my back, would you? - Not there, a little lower down. You are not supposed to rub those plastic baths with abrasive cleansers. Before the guests arrived, we rubbed the silver till you could see yourself in it
2 rub in or on. apply, smooth, smear, spread, put:
The ache may be relieved a bit if you rub on some liniment.
3 rub (it or something) in. emphasize, stress, make an issue of, harp on, reiterate, dwell on, hammer away, dramatize:
It's bad enough that Caroline did better than I did - you don't have to keep rubbing it in
4 rub off or out. expunge, erase, remove, delete, cancel, eliminate, eradicate:
It's a pity, Peter, that you rubbed out the right reply and wrote in the wrong one. The boys were released on the condition that they would rub the graffiti off the wall
5 rub off (on). affect, be transferred (to), be communicated or transmitted (to), be passed on or along (to), be imparted to:
Your mother and I had hoped that some of our love of music might have rubbed off on you
6 rub out. murder, kill, execute, slay:
The Godfather ordered all witnesses to be rubbed out.
7 rub shoulders with. rub elbows with, associate with, socialize with, mix with, fraternize with, keep company with, consort with, Colloq US run or pal or chum around with:
Since getting his knighthood Charles no longer rubs shoulders with the likes of us
8 rub (someone) (up) the wrong way. annoy, irritate, irk, anger, provoke, go against the grain, Colloq bug, get under one's or someone's skin, peeve:
I don't know what it is about Underbridge, but every time we meet he manages to rub me up the wrong way.
9 wipe, stroke, rubbing:
You will have to give that stain a good rub to make it come out.
10 massage, rub-down:
After exercising, Jane always has an alcohol rub.
11 the rub. the or a catch or hitch or snag or hindrance or set-back, the or an obstacle or impediment, the or a difficulty or problem or trouble:
The only rub I can see is that Warren may not agree to resign.
briskly, hard, vigorously
He rubbed his face briskly with the towel.
Put a little cream onto each hand and rub it in well.
| gently, lightly
He gently rubbed his swollen nose.
She rubbed her chin thoughtfully.
Corbett rubbed his eyes wearily.
| in, together
He began to rub his hands together in glee.
VERB + RUB
The cat rubbed against my legs.
She stood up, rubbing at her back.
Rub the cream well into your skin.
She rubbed her hands on her apron.
I rubbed my glasses with my handkerchief.
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