Definition of nub in English:



  • 1The crux or central point of a matter.

    ‘the nub of the problem lies elsewhere’
    • ‘This brings us to the nub of the matter - who exactly should the SAC be funding, and in what proportions?’
    • ‘And this is the nub of the matter - all sides want rural development and repopulation, but differ on how it can be achieved.’
    • ‘In his view, the nub of the referendum debate will be: ‘Do we want to be key decision-makers and players in Europe, or do we want to be in a sort of second-class status?’’
    • ‘But limited sight seemed in no way to impede his ability to get through the business; indeed it didn't impede his ability to cut to the nub of the matter at issue.’
    • ‘Andrew Tongue's comments about the difficulties of straddling both the needs of free-flowing trade and the needs of tight security is at the nub of the problem.’
    • ‘The ownership of land has been the nub of popular discontent in Britain since the Normans, when much of England and Wales - and large slices of Scotland and Ireland - was handed out piecemeal to henchmen.’
    • ‘The nub of the issue is that Brian, a 14-year-old boy, was arrested and detained in what witnesses have said were violent circumstances.’
    • ‘And there you have the nub of this particular matter.’
    • ‘The nub of the problem in Lancaster is that there's no temporary accommodation to house people.’
    • ‘However, the cost of quality assurance and accountability procedures is the nub of the matter.’
    • ‘The nub of the problem is the term District which allows clubs to transfer every season if they wish.’
    • ‘The nub of the matter is that they start their crickety noises in the morning, at about 9 a.m., and this goes on until 6 in the evening.’
    • ‘But the nub of the problem again looks like being delayed discharges otherwise known as ‘bed blocking’, when elderly people are waiting to be discharged from hospital and into care.’
    • ‘The nub of the issue is how the IRB handle the massive revenues from the World Cup, which traditionally has only two principal financial beneficiaries, the board and the host union.’
    • ‘Let us cut to the nub of the matter about why we are debating this bill.’
    • ‘And this is the nub of Mr Howard's problem: what policy options did his government take into account when confronted by the uncompromising certainty of allied intelligence.’
    • ‘Now, here is the nub of the matter and the next - possibly cataclysmic - pitfall into which Labour, in its enduring arrogance and self-interest, may well fall.’
    • ‘This is the core of the applicant's submission and it is the nub of his Honour's reasoning.’
    • ‘This was not surprising when the holding of multiple elective offices by male bosses was the nub of a tight patronage system that promoted the interests of male colleagues first.’
    • ‘The nub of the problem with the Government's social coalition is that it invites business to make a token contribution in the context of the Government contributing less than it should.’
    quintessence, soul, spirit, ethos, nature, life, lifeblood, core, heart, centre, crux, nucleus, kernel, marrow, meat, pith, gist, substance, principle, central part, fundamental quality, basic quality, essential part, intrinsic nature, sum and substance, reality, actuality
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  • 2A small lump or protuberance.

    ‘he pressed down on the two nubs on top of the phone’
    • ‘Billions of tiny wax-covered nubs on the surface ensure that dirt particles cannot cling to them and are simply washed away by drops of water dripping down the leaf.’
    • ‘His ideal table has many functions, and several nubs of cork inlaid for pinning.’
    • ‘At Ingolstadt, the branchlike ribs are disjunctively representational, carved with protruding nubs or twigs signaling their botanical nature.’
    • ‘Bedecked in chains and leather studded collars, their ears hacked down to nubs, these dogs served as accoutrements in the young locals' tireless cultivation of their personal menace.’
    • ‘He crumpled the nub and flicked it to a corner of my room.’
    • ‘His ‘eyes,’ the optical sensory nodes that rested on the lower side of his sensory nub, were closed and he didn't get to see what happened.’
    • ‘As we ease in for the pick-up, I can see a tiny nub of blubber protruding from the end of the tip.’
    • ‘He did like the gloves with rubber nubs on the fingers, though.’
    • ‘The dreary May weather had ground me down to a blunt nub.’
    • ‘How was it a nub of bone and flesh that protruded out of a foot could feel so much pain?’
    • ‘The major types of traffic-calming measures used for speed control in the US and other countries are speed humps or tables, chicanes, chokers, nubs, raised junctions, traffic circles or roundabouts and street closures.’
    • ‘I scratch at the reddish nubs of horn straddling my top spine, lost in a sea of so-called ‘primitive feathers’, also red in color, like my eyes.’
    • ‘They have nubs instead of legs, several are missing limbs all together, some have no eyes and three are joined like Siamese triplets.’
    • ‘The stones are not bleached white but rather black and worn away to nubs, like an old man's really rotten teeth.’
    • ‘With the little protruding nubs of the follower caught by your fingernails, its open-side 10-round magazine doesn't fight you when you insert the cartridges.’
    • ‘The former Degrassi kid, who wrote, directed and stars in what may or may not be a comedy, has made one of those Canadian films which will have you grinding your teeth down to nubs before the movie is half over.’
    • ‘The tops of the heat pipes are capped with rubber nubs.’
    • ‘Even the 8-mm hex key, which is little more than a nub protruding from the chain tool, is positioned for exceptional leverage.’
    • ‘While bright color and multicolored nubs and slubs enlivened the tweeds, the houndstooth wovens were often found in black and white.’
    • ‘His sense nub, a small bump on his forehead, detected something strange about the air.’
    lump, bump, protuberance, projection, protrusion, bulge, swelling, knot, node, nodule, gnarl, growth, outgrowth, excrescence, carbuncle, tumour
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    1. 2.1A small chunk or nugget of metal or rock.
      ‘a nub of gold’
      • ‘There, as in the other cave, was the small nub of rock that was slightly discolored.’
      • ‘With my toes perched precariously on a nub of rock, I frantically search for the next handhold.’


Late 17th century: apparently a variant of dialect knub ‘protuberance’, from Middle Low German knubbe, knobbe knob.