To rub something is to move against the surface of it. This movement can be accidental or intentional. Rubbing causes friction resulting in wear. Rubbing is also a method of adding a liquid or a lotion in order to make something soft or produce some other intended effect.

simplepastpast participle
  • Doris rubbed some lotion onto her hands to keep them soft.
  • George rubbed his hands together to keep them warm.
  • As Samantha was walking in the woods, her leg rubbed up against a bush with thorns.
  • The back tire on my bike is rubbing up against the brakes. I have to fix that.
  • Some people believe that rubbing a rabbit’s foot can bring good luck.
  • An eraser at the end of a pencil can be used to rub out mistakes that are made on paper.
  • It feels good to have someone rub your back. (This is called a "back rub.")
  • People may rub their eyes when they are tired.
  • It’s natural to rub any part of your body that has been hit or injured.

Here are some expressions and an English nursery rhyme that use the word "rub."

  • He rubs me the wrong way. (There’s something about him that I don’t like.)
  • Ah, there’s the rub. (That’s the problem.)
  • Rub-a-dub-dub,
    Three men in a tub,
    And who do you think they be?
    The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker,
    And all of them out to sea.

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April 21, 2019