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rub / rəb/ • v. (rubbed, rub·bing) [tr.] move one's hand or a cloth repeatedly to and fro on the surface of (something) with firm pressure: she rubbed her arm, where she had a large bruise | [intr.] he rubbed at the dirt on his jeans. ∎  [tr.] move (one's hand, a cloth, or another object) over a surface in such a way: he rubbed a finger around the rim of his mug. ∎  [tr.] cause (two things) to move to and fro against each other with a certain amount of pressure and friction: many insects make noises by rubbing parts of their bodies together. ∎  [intr.] move to and fro over something while pressing or grinding against it: the ice breaks into small floes that rub against each other. ∎  [intr.] (of shoes or other hard items in contact with the skin) cause pain through friction: badly fitting shoes can rub painfully. ∎  make dry, clean, or smooth with pressure from a hand, cloth, or other object: she found a towel and began rubbing her hair | [tr.] she rubbed herself as dry as possible. ∎  [tr.] spread (ointment, polish, or a substance of similar consistency) over a surface with repeated movements of one's hand or a cloth: she took out her sunblock and rubbed some on her nose. ∎  (rub something in/into/through) work an ingredient into (a mixture) by breaking and blending it with firm movements of one's fingers: sift the flour into a bowl and rub in the fat. ∎  reproduce the design of (a gravestone, memorial tablet, etc.) by laying paper on it and rubbing the paper with charcoal, colored chalk, etc. ∎  [intr.] Lawn Bowling (of a bowl) be slowed or diverted by the unevenness of the ground.• n. 1. [usu. in sing.] an act of rubbing: she pulled out a towel and gave her head a quick rub. ∎  an ointment designed to be rubbed on the skin to ease pain: a muscle rub.2. (usu. the rub) a difficulty, esp. one of central importance in a situation: that was the rub—she had not cared enough.3. Lawn Bowling an inequality of the ground impeding or diverting a bowl; the diversion or hindering of a bowl by this.PHRASES: not have two —— to rub together inf. have none or hardly any of the specified item, esp. money: she doesn't have two nickels to rub together.rub elbows (or shoulders) associate or come into contact (with another person): he rubbed elbows with TV stars at the party.rub one's hands rub one's hands together to show keen satisfaction.rub it in (or rub someone's nose in something) inf. emphatically draw someone's attention to an embarrassing or painful fact: they don't just beat you, they rub it in.rub noses rub one's nose against someone else's in greeting (esp. as traditional among Maoris and some other peoples).rub of the green Golf any accidental or unpredictable influence on the course or position of the ball. ∎ good fortune, esp. as determining events in an athletic contest.rub someone the wrong way irritate or repel someone as by stroking a cat against the lie of its fur.PHRASAL VERBS: rub something down dry, smooth, or clean something by rubbing. ∎  rub the sweat from a horse or one's own body after exercise.rub off be transferred by contact or association: when parents are having a hard time, their tension can easily rub off on the kids.rub someone out inf. kill someone.rub something out erase pencil marks with an eraser.rub something up polish a metal or leather object.