—v.t. 1. to subject the surface of (a thing or person) to pressure and friction, as in cleaning, smoothing, polishing, coating, massaging, or soothing: to rub a table top with wax polish; to rub the entire back area. 2. to move (something) back and forth or with a rotary motion, as against or along another surface: to rub the cloth over the glass pane. 3. to spread or apply (something) with pressure and friction over something else or a person: to rub lotion on her chapped hands. 4. to move (two things) with pressure and friction over or back and forth over each other (often fol. by together): He rubbed his hands together. 5. to mark, polish, force, move, etc. (something) by pressure and friction (often fol. by over, in, or into).
6. to remove by pressure and friction; erase (often fol. by off or out).
—v.i. 1. to exert pressure and friction on something.
2. to move with pressure against something.
3. to admit of being rubbed in a specified manner: Chalk rubs off easily. 4. Chiefly Brit.to proceed, continue in a course, or keep going with effort or difficulty (usually fol. by on, along, or through): He manages to rub along. 5. rub down, a. to smooth off, polish, or apply a coating to: to rub a chair down with sandpaper. b. to give a massage to.
6. rub it in,Informal.to emphasize or reiterate something unpleasant in order to tease or annoy: The situation was embarrassing enough without having you rub it in. 7. rub off on, to become transferred or communicated to by example or association: Some of his good luck must have rubbed off on me. 8. rub out, a. to obliterate; erase.
b. Slang.to murder: They rubbed him out before he could get to the police. 9. rub the wrong way, to irritate; offend; annoy: a manner that seemed to rub everyone the wrong way. 10. rub up,Brit. Informal.to refresh one's memory of (a subject, language, etc.).
—n. 1. an act or instance of rubbing: an alcohol rub. 2. something that annoys or irritates one's feelings, as a sharp criticism, a sarcastic remark, or the like: to resent rubs concerning one's character. 3. an annoying experience or circumstance.
4. an obstacle, impediment, or difficulty: We'd like to travel, but the rub is that we have no money. 5. a rough or abraded area caused by rubbing.