1. To subject (a body) to the action of something moving over its surface with pressure and friction, especially to the action of something moving back and forth; as, to rub the flesh with the hand; to rub wood with sandpaper. It shall be expedient, after that body is cleaned, to rub the body with a coarse linen cloth. (Sir T. Elyot)
2. To move over the surface of (a body) with pressure and friction; to graze; to chafe; as, the boat rubs the ground.
3. To cause (a body) to move with pressure and friction along a surface; as, to rub the hand over the body. Two bones rubbed hard against one another. (Arbuthnot)
4. To spread a substance thinly over; to smear. The smoothed plank, . . . New rubbed with balm. (milton)
5. To scour; to burnish; to polish; to brighten; to cleanse; often with up or over; as, to rub up silver. The whole business of our redemption is to rub over the defaced copy of the creation. (south)
6. To hinder; to cross; to thwart. ‘T is the duke’s pleasure, Whose disposition, all the world well knows, Will not be rubbed nor stopped. (Shak) To rub down. To clean by rubbing; to comb or curry; as, to down a horse. To reduce or remove by rubbing; as, to rub down the rough points. To rub off, to clean anything by rubbing; to separate by friction; as, to rub off rust. To rub out, to remove or separate by friction; to erase; to obliterate; as, to rub out
a mark or letter; to rub out a stain. To rub up. To burnish; to polish; to clean. To excite; to awaken; to rouse to action; as, to rub up the memory.
Origin: Probably of Celtic origin; cf. W. Rhwbiaw, gael. Rub.