Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word


 - definition

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary entries. Click on the T button in an entry to review the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb rub pronunciation in American English /rʌb/ 
Word Forms
present tense
present participlerubbing
past tenserubbed
past participlerubbed
  1. 1
    [intransitive/transitive] to press and move your hands or an object over a surface

    The boy rubbed his eyes sleepily.

    rub something off something:

    Rub the skins of the peppers off when they have softened.

    1. a.
      to move something such as a cloth backward and forward across a surface to clean it, dry it, or make it smooth
      rub something off something:

      He rubbed the dirt off the license plate with his sleeve.

  2. 2
    [transitive] to press and move one object against another or against a surface
    rub something together:

    Rub your hands together, it will help you to stay warm.

    rub something against something:

    The cat rubbed its cheek against my leg.

    1. b.
      [intransitive] British to hurt or damage something by continuously pressing and moving against it

      Cindy's new shoes were rubbing and giving her blisters.

  3. 3
    [transitive] to spread a liquid or substance onto the surface of something
    rub something on something:

    She rubbed some tanning oil on his back.

    rub something with something:

    Rub the chicken with garlic before putting it in the oven.



a paid holiday given to a new employee before they start their job

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

selfie stick

an expandable stick which you attach to a mobile phone or camera to help you take a selfie …

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog