Synonyms of rub in English:


See US English definition of rub

See UK English definition of rub

See Spanish definition of frotar


1‘Polly rubbed the back of her neck’

massage, knead
stroke, pat

2‘Rodney was rubbing suntan lotion on Sophie's back’

apply, put on, smear, smooth, spread, work in, cream in

3‘badly fitting shoes can rub painfully’

chafe, pinch, scrape, abrade
hurt, be sore, be painful


1‘she gave my back a rub’

massage, rub-down

2‘I gave my shoes a final rub’

polish, buffing
wipe, clean

3‘that's the rub—will busy managers contemplate reading such a large amount of material?’

problem, difficulty, trouble, drawback, hindrance, obstacle, obstruction, impediment
snag, hitch, catch


    rub it in

    emphasize, stress, underline, highlight
    keep going on about, harp on, dwell on, make an issue of
    informal rub someone's nose in it
    rub shoulders with

    associate with, mingle with, fraternize with, socialize with, mix with, keep company with, consort with
    North American rub elbows with
    informal hang around with, hang out with, hang about with, hobnob with, run around with, knock about with, knock around with, pal around with, chum around with
    rub someone up the wrong way

    irritate, annoy, irk, vex, provoke, displease, exasperate, infuriate, get on someone's nerves, get someone's back up, put someone's back up, put out, pique, upset, nettle, needle, ruffle someone's feathers, make someone's hackles rise, try someone's patience
    jar on, grate on
    informal aggravate, get, get to, bug, miff, peeve, rile, get under someone's skin, get in someone's hair, hack off, get someone's goat
    British informal nark, get on someone's wick, give someone the hump, wind up, get across, get up someone's nose
    North American informal rankle, ride, gravel
    vulgar slang piss off
    British vulgar slang get on someone's tits
    rare exacerbate, hump, rasp


    rub along

    ‘we rubbed along as best as we could’

    manage, cope, get along, get on, make do, be all right, do all right, fare all right, muddle along, muddle through, shift
    make out, get by
    rub something down

    ‘the horses were unsaddled and rubbed down’

    clean, sponge, wash
    rub something out

    erase, delete, scrub out, wipe off, remove, efface, obliterate, expunge

    add, leave

    rub someone out

    kill, murder, cause the death of, end the life of, take the life of, do away with, make away with, assassinate, do to death, eliminate, terminate, dispatch, finish off, put to death, execute
    slaughter, butcher, massacre, wipe out, destroy, annihilate, erase, eradicate, exterminate, extirpate, decimate, mow down, shoot down, cut down, cut to pieces
    put down, put to sleep
    informal bump off, polish off, do in, do for, knock off, top, take out, croak, stiff, blow away, liquidate, dispose of
    North American informal ice, off, waste, whack, scrag, smoke
    literary slay
    rub off on

    ‘my father had a strong contempt for science which rubbed off on me’

    be transferred to, be passed on to, be transmitted to, be communicated to
    affect, influence, have an effect on

    have no effect on, be water off a duck's back to