Definition of grub in English:

grub

noun

  • 1The larva of an insect, especially a beetle.

    ‘my onions are ruined by small grubs eating the roots’
    • ‘Perhaps it's best not to think of the sea of grubs, flies and beetles there must be underfoot.’
    • ‘Insect larvae such as leatherjackets and chafer grubs, which feed on grass roots, have now reached a size and state of succulence that tempts birds to dig for them, spoiling lawns in the process.’
    • ‘A larva is an insect in a state of development (displaying little or no similarity to the adult form) lasting from the time of its leaving the egg until its transformation into a pupa, e.g. a grub or a caterpillar.’
    • ‘This year flea beetles, white grubs, seed corn maggots and wireworms generated a lot of discussion.’
    • ‘He would sit in the centre of the grass, gaping and gawping, while the parent birds rushed back and forth to find nourishing grubs and suitable insects to stuff down his throat.’
    • ‘No matter, I have seen their crazy joy at lesser things - a beetle grub, a lost dragonfly.’
    • ‘If mountain pine beetle grubs were to become an urban delicacy, then we could rescue the inland forests while offering an alternative to mushroom picking and tree planting summer jobs for B.C.'s youth.’
    • ‘However, these grubs are the larvae of beetles, most commonly the June beetle in this area.’
    • ‘Beetle grubs can turn a fine looking lawn into a patchwork quilt of yellow spots.’
    • ‘Early fall, when grubs feed near the surface, is the best time to control them.’
    • ‘If the early stand loss is a result of seedcorn maggot, wireworm, grubs, or early cutworm infestation, timely response with rescue treatments may not be feasible.’
    • ‘Moles have small, sharp incisors and canine teeth that are used for catching and eating grubs and earthworms.’
    • ‘Squash any grub and, if the plant is worth saving, wash the roots and pot up into new compost.’
    • ‘An example would be genes for insecticidal proteins to fight white grubs and other pests.’
    • ‘Dwarf mongooses mainly feed on insects like termites, locusts, beetles, grubs, larvae and spiders.’
    • ‘On hatching of eggs, the grubs feed on soft tissues inside the trunk.’
    • ‘In the dark of the night, the rat-size slow-moving animals sniff with their long tubular snouts for ants, insects, grubs, and small reptiles that venture forth.’
    • ‘They collect twelve species of mushrooms, four types of termites, crickets, three types of grubs, and twelve species of caterpillars.’
    • ‘Underneath, white grubs with brown heads lie curled on the soil's surface.’
    • ‘Soil-applied insecticides recommended for control of rootworm larvae also may prevent early stand losses due to wireworms, grubs, seedcorn maggot, and seedcorn beetles.’
    larva, maggot
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    1. 1.1 A maggot or small caterpillar.
      larva, maggot
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  • 2informal mass noun Food.

    ‘a popular bar serving excellent pub grub’
    • ‘I must say it is rather a bind to be dragged in and out of these promotional bashes, where a family home has been hijacked so that freeloading guests can scoff beer and grub in the back garden.’
    • ‘They were expensive for pub grub at £7.50 each, but sounded succulent.’
    • ‘I grabbed some grub and found a seat, settling in for a three-hour seminar on fundraising.’
    • ‘Lemurs, meanwhile, are usually lefties when it comes to grabbing their grub.’
    • ‘There are plenty of restaurants and good pubs with good grub in the town and in nearby villages.’
    • ‘A small kitchen serving good quality basic pub grub completes the menu.’
    • ‘As for grub, you have your choice of a traditional snack bar, ice cream treats, hot dogs, pizza or a trip to the coffee bar.’
    • ‘"There's some decent grub at the mess hall, " Catherine said.’
    • ‘Although it is not a food show, local grub plays a prominent part.’
    • ‘If all you want is a plate of grub, there are lots of places you can get food where that's all you pay for.’
    • ‘The CDs were handed out with fast food grub as part of a joint initiative between the two companies.’
    • ‘Beans and franks are fine for some but these staples of campfire grub don't have to make an appearance on your holiday menu.’
    • ‘This year's event will include delights ranging from a First Class Food Day to an Organic and Vegetarian Day, with world food, British food and wedding grub all on the agenda, too.’
    • ‘Located near to the town centre, the monastically themed bar offers traditional pub grub from 12.30 pm to 2.45 pm.’
    • ‘More traditional grub, such as a cheese and onion pasty or Scotch egg, follows in the evening.’
    • ‘This here pub opens at noon on parade day to serve up Irish stew and other good grub, with live, lively Irish music.’
    • ‘Apparently the place is loved in some circles for its heaping helpings of Greek grub.’
    • ‘The kitchens follow the tradition of the infamous chef Vatel by serving lavish grub, as in the days of King Louis XIV.’
    • ‘He compliments her food but surely anything would taste good after prison grub.’
    • ‘Food shops line the outer edges (selling, for a Brit, remarkably reassuring grub like sausage rolls, meat pies and fish and chips).’
    food, nourishment, sustenance, nutriment, subsistence, fare, bread, daily bread
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verb

  • 1no object, with adverbial Dig or poke about in soil.

    ‘the damage done to pastures by badgers grubbing for worms’
    • ‘All three parties have spent so much time grubbing about in the undergrowth of politics that Gordon Brown's Saturday call to remember the high ground of issues sent a shock wave through the nation.’
    • ‘We no longer go off into the forest, hunting for our game and grubbing for roots and berries.’
    • ‘You spent four years in Africa, in England, in France, grubbing around in the insides of airplane engines and then they shipped you to an air base on a godforsaken island.’
    • ‘It seems to me that when a once great Tory Party is reduced to grubbing around in its opponents’ expenses to try and score points, it has indeed become small-minded and mean.’
    • ‘Sometimes only bubbles can be seen on the surface as they grub around the bottom for food.’
    • ‘Last fall, students went grubbing under rocks looking for glowworms and learning about the phases of the moon.’
    • ‘This fish obviously earns its living grubbing about the bottom and scavenging.’
    • ‘It will do anything you could possibly want, if you are prepared to grub about in templates, add-ons, and configuration files.’
    • ‘Instead of appealing to our higher faculties and social conscience, the campaigns have grubbed about in our pockets, offering a little bit more here, a little bit less there.’
    • ‘He was an illiterate village urchin grubbing around with goats and chickens till the age of 12.’
    • ‘The down-to-earth boffin has been kicking up a stink about excrement studies and grubbing around in old filth for more than 30 years.’
    • ‘The craze for ferns and the craving for grubbing in rock-pools at the seaside, popularised by Gosse's engaging handbooks, went hand in hand with the plant display cases and marine aquaria that festooned countless parlours.’
    • ‘Politicians in this country have been grubbing through the embers of the American election to see what they can learn.’
    • ‘Lake sturgeon are slow moving fish, spending most of their time grubbing on the bottom for food.’
    • ‘I think maybe he's spent so long grubbing around down there that he finds it hard to see the good in people.’
    • ‘It keeps to the bottom, grubbing for insect larvae.’
    dig, excavate, burrow, tunnel
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    1. 1.1grub something up/outwith object Remove something from the earth by digging it up.
      ‘many miles of hedgerows were grubbed up’
      ‘construction operations including clearing and grubbing’
      • ‘The alternative is to grub out a well-established hedge and replace it with a fence, thereby losing habitat for birds and insects.’
      • ‘I plant carrots late, just so I have lots of them for winter; if I've protected them with a mulch of hay, I can keep grubbing them out through the season.’
      • ‘My grandad has grubbed out a bed for nasturtiums, and trained them up a wall.’
      • ‘Ted and Mary thought sport was a waste of time - the boys could expend plenty of energy grubbing thistles, or helping with hay making on the farm.’
      • ‘Those hundreds, or thousands, or hundreds of thousands of miles of hedge that have been grubbed up every week since the war, well, I'm damned if I can see where they went.’
      • ‘We could solve London's housing crisis by levelling its historic buildings, grubbing up the parks and building high-rise homes in their place.’
      • ‘Over the winter months we've been doing a great deal of clearing up on our part-neglected croft garden, grubbing out and shredding dead shrubs and cutting back those that have either grown too large or are crowding others.’
      • ‘Wine varieties were grubbed up and table and raisin varieties were planted in their place.’
      • ‘It can either be grubbed up and burnt or ploughed under.’
      • ‘A new surface was laid over half the length of each road before it was discovered it was totally unsuitable and had to be grubbed up, to be replaced with a surface that is not compatible with the stated concept of a Home Zone.’
      • ‘The portion of the canyon to receive the initial refuse was prepared by clearing and grubbing the native vegetation.’
      • ‘If a fence be an old bad one, grub it up and raise a new one.’
      dig up, unearth, disinter, uproot, root out, root up, pull up, pull out, tear out, take out of the ground
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  • 2no object, with adverbial Search in a clumsy and unmethodical manner.

    ‘I began grubbing about in the waste-paper basket to find the envelope’
    search, hunt, delve, dig, rummage, scrabble, scour, probe, ferret, ferret about, ferret around, root, rifle, fish, poke
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  • 3no object, with adverbial Work hard, especially at a dull or demeaning task.

    ‘she has achieved independence without having to grub for it’
    • ‘A composer of classical music can secure a living or even performances only with difficulty, so the tendency is to grub away in isolation, writing to satisfy, not a consumer, but an inner need.’
    • ‘Talk to me in a few years and maybe I'll be like all the other jaded researchers grubbing for money.’
    • ‘He had to use a pseudonym to continue to write, and continue to write he did, for years, while William Shakespeare, whose name is used, went unwittingly on, grubbing for money in Stratford.’
    • ‘The freedom to sit here and enjoy the show without having to rush down there and start grubbing for coins.’
    • ‘It is supposed to be strictly a commerce-free zone - not exactly a public service, maybe, but also not a place to grub for the Almighty Dollar.’
    • ‘This is a clear attempt to scratch the itch of racism, homophobia and bigotry and pander to the culturally insecure in order to grub for votes.’
    • ‘I don't like to look like I'm grubbing for money.’
    • ‘It's an intriguing question: why is grubbing for dough held in a higher regard than grubbing for votes?’
    • ‘Anyway, we didn't stay at the reception very long - too many people, too hot and I always find people grubbing for free food somewhat disturbing.’
    work hard, toil, labour, work one's fingers to the bone, work like a dog, work like a trojan, work day and night, exert oneself, keep at it, keep one's nose to the grindstone, grind, slave, plough, plod, peg
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    1. 3.1with object Achieve or acquire (something) by doing demeaning work.
      ‘they were grubbing a living from garbage pails’
      • ‘If the Government is reduced to grubbing the votes of its most backward-looking, antediluvian backbenchers, then what is it in office for?’
      • ‘He is a born loner used to corrupting words to grub a living.’
      • ‘But then, this isn't really any change - he's already shown that he's willing to inflame racial tensions with lies in order to grub votes.’
      • ‘It's funny, in a way, at least if you overlook the fact that people's lives are being ruined so that he can grub a few more votes.’
      • ‘But who cares about that - or about human rights, or medical ethics - when you can grub votes?’
      • ‘And it never ceases to amaze me when I see a fit woman grubbing French fries and pizza.’
      • ‘Vineyards outside the official wine region were summarily grubbed up by the authorities.’
      • ‘That's why he's willing to use them as an election-year football in order to grub votes from rednecks.’
      • ‘Furthermore, what about those American evangelists with their glib messages, grubbing a few dollars there and few pounds here?’
      • ‘A significant strand of our ancestors fled halfway around the world to try and grub a living out of the forest and the swamp to escape the workhouse and the orphanage - not to recreate them.’
      slave, toil, labour, grind, plod, sweat, struggle, strive, overwork oneself, work very hard, work one's fingers to the bone, work like a dog, work like a trojan, keep one's nose to the grindstone
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Origin

Middle English: perhaps related to Dutch grobbelen, also to grave.

Pronunciation

grub

/ɡrʌb/