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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

RUB, v., n. Sc. forms and usages:

I. v. 1. Combs., phrs. and deriv.: (1) rub(b)er, (i) a hard brush for rubbing or scrubbing, a scrubbing brush (Lnk. 1968). Rare or dial. in Eng.; (ii) Mining: a piece of wood so used as to reduce friction on sliding pump rods or moving hutches (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms 56); (iii) in pl.: a disease in sheep, a severe itch which causes them to rub themselves excessively (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Also in Eng. dial. Cf. Scrapie, Scratchie; (2) rub-doun, a glass of whisky; (3) rubbing bone, a bone used to rub cloth in order to hide blemishes in the weave. Cf. 2.; (4) rubbing bottle, a bottle of liniment or embrocation (Sc. 1904 E.D.D.; Uls. 1953 Traynor; Cai., Per., Fif., w.Lth., Lnk., Wgt. 1968). Also in Eng. dial.; (5) rubbin stane, a piece of pipe-clay used to whiten door-steps (Ayr. 1900; Ork., m. and s.Sc. 1968); (6) rubbing stick, a stick used by shoemakers in order to rub leather smooth (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.; Ork. 1968); (7) rubbing stock, a post set up in a field for cattle to rub themselves against (Ork., Per. 1968); (8) rubbin(g)-tub, a tub used for cleaning or rubbing the husks off corn (Sh. 1968); (9) rubbins, liniment, embrocation (I.Sc. 1968); (10) to rub aff o', oot o', used elliptically with direct obj. unexpressed: to rub, wipe (I.Sc. 1968).(1) (i) Per. 1737 Ochtertyre Ho. Bk. (S.H.S.) 21:
For a wasshing ruber . . . 10d.
Abd. 1743 Powis Papers (S.C.) 283:
A sweeping brush and two Rubbers.
Peb. 1802 C. Findlater Agric. Peb. 81:
Carefully scrubbed with a rubber, or hard brush made of the smaller twigs of heath.
Ayr. 1897 H. Ochiltree Shroud xxiv.:
A' rowed up like a bundle o' heather rubbers.
(2) em.Sc. (a) 1904 E.D.D., obs.:
“A rub-doun” was the current expression at roadside inns north of the Forth for a glass of whisky. [A rider would make the need for rubbing down his horse the excuse for stopping for a drink.]
(3) Ags. 1909 A. Reid Kirriemuir 107:
Woe be to the cunnin weaver who tried to hide a blemish with “batter” or the “rubbing bane”.
(7) Abd. 1717 W. Walker Bards Bon-Accord (1887) 203:
As . . . the rubbing stock To the bull's neck, when folded is the flock.
(8) Sh. 1957 J. Stewart Shet. Archaeol. 54:
Containers of wood were legion, caps and kits, saes and rubbin-tubs.
(9) Sh. 1900 Shetland News (14 July):
A grain o' rubbin's, mebbie hartshorn, wi' suntin' idder intil hit ta rub wi'.
(10) Sh. 1897–1900 Shetland News (18 Sept., 17 Nov.):
I set me up i' da bed, an' rubbid oot o' mi een. . . . Shü wrang da eend o' a tooel oot o' da daffik o' watter, an' rubbid aff o' her face.

2. To smooth a web of cloth and hide blemishes by rubbing it over with a bone. Cf. 1. (3).Fif. 1831 Fife Herald (13 Jan.):
[In New York] Webs are all paid for at so much per yard, and are not rubbed, as in this country, which deprives the workman of the advantages resulting from that process.

3. In Bowls and Curling: to move a stone aside by knocking (gently) against it with another stone. Gen.Sc.Ayr. 1816 A. Boswell Works (1871) 197:
Now, Willie, here's a fine inring, Play straught, and rub him like a king.

4. To give a speaker an unfavourable reception, to refuse a hearing to, to shout down. Cf. obs. Eng. rub out, id.Dmf. 1831 Carlyle Letters (Norton) I. 251:
They tore his garments at Forfar, and “rubbed” him, that is, hustled.

II. n. 1. Golf: an accidental interference with the course or position of the ball, for which the player receives no compensation, esp. in phr. rub of or ¶on the green.Sc. 1812 J. B. Salmond R. and A. (1956) 78:
Whatever happens to a Ball by accident must be reckoned a Rub of the green.
Sc. 1842 R. Clark Golf (1875) 140:
The green has its bunkers, its hazards, and rubs.
Sc. 1887 Jam.:
Rub on the green. A term in golfing, denoting a favourable or unfavourable knock which one's ball may receive during the game, for which no penalty is imposed, and which must be submitted to.

2. A slight jibe, reproof or teasing, a “dig” (Mry.1 1925; Ork., Cai., Abd., Kcb. 1968).Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr. Duguid 102:
She gied me a bit rub aboot Leezie.
Abd. 1899 G. Greig Logie o' Buchan iv.:
Halket, couldn't refrain from giving his young associate “a rub in the bygaun”.

3. A joke, a trick.Rxb. 1826 A. Scott Poems 60:
Yet fegs in end, I play'd on them a rub.

4. A hard grasping person.Per. 1811 J. Sim Poems 21:
There's not a rub like him on earth.

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"Rub v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Apr 2024 <>



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