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rub

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verb rub pronunciation in British English /rʌb/
Word Forms
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present tense
I/you/we/theyrub
he/she/itrubs
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 your hand backwards and forwards across a part of someones body while pressing firmly, especially because that part of the body hurts
      Scott gently rubbed her back until the pain went away.
      Synonyms and related words
    2. b.
      to move something such as a cloth backwards and forwards across a surface to clean it, dry it, or make it smooth
      rub something off something: He rubbed the dirt off the number plate with his sleeve.
      Synonyms and related words
  2. 2
    [transitive] to press and move one object against another or against a surface
    rub something against something: The cat rubbed its cheek against my leg.
    rub something together: Rub your hands together, it will help you to stay warm.
    1. a.
      to press and move against an object or a surface
      The cow rubbed against the fence.
      Synonyms and related words
    2. 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.
      Synonyms and related words
  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.
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