Definition of tub in English:



  • 1A wide, open, deep, typically round container with a flat bottom used for holding liquids, growing plants, etc.

    ‘a rainwater tub’
    • ‘The local committee has purchased a number of new tubs which have been planted over the weekend.’
    • ‘There are lots of summer flowering patio plants, garden flowers, trees, shrubs and all kinds of rose bushes, herbaceous plants, baskets, tubs and ceramic containers.’
    • ‘We also bought 4 windowboxes for the front of the house, and 4 tubs of bedding plants to put in them.’
    • ‘The two blueberries were a little more tricky, since they were already planted into their large tubs and well settled.’
    • ‘Even if you have only a small garden, growing them in tubs or large pots can be just as effective.’
    • ‘The compost can then be stored until you need it in an old dustbin, ready for use in pots, tubs, boxes and patio containers.’
    • ‘A large selection of colourful bedding plants, tubs, window boxes and baskets, shrubs, roses, heathers, perennial plants, Ornamental and fruit trees will be on sale.’
    • ‘Immediately prior to flooding, plant heights were measured and these heights were used to assign plants to tubs.’
    • ‘I spent a goodly proportion of yesterday working in the garden replanting some tubs and planting up some new ones.’
    • ‘The ones previously planted out into a tub are really growing well; the ones in the cold frame are still little.’
    • ‘Generously scaled tubs and plants with architectural leaves in the foreground lend distance, in the same way as placing your hand to your face will make the background recede.’
    • ‘Planted in a deep tub, within a couple of seasons it will reach for the sky and festoon your railings with its sweet scented flowers.’
    • ‘Even the tiniest garden should have room for tubs planted with sweet-smelling herbs.’
    • ‘It is therefore suitable for trellises or arbors or for growing in pots or tubs with a balloon framework.’
    • ‘Over recent weeks the group have planted up flower tubs around the village, removed weeds and cared for flower beds and done some paintwork.’
    • ‘If there are flowers planted in tubs or beds in your area we ask you to please help keep them watered regularly.’
    • ‘I washed out two long tubs and planted 6 of my new strawberries in each, watered them in and put them right in the corner of the patio.’
    • ‘Be sure the bottom of the tub is clean and free of any soap residue.’
    • ‘Finally, the pupils used six tubs to plant strawberry runners.’
    • ‘While herbaceous perennials are best grown together in a border, they work just as well grouped in patio tubs and pots.’
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A small plastic or cardboard container in which food is bought or stored.
      ‘a margarine tub’
      • ‘Targeted towards kids, the gum balls are distributed in a 36-count plastic tub.’
      • ‘Plastic lids also continue to impact the dairy-based spread and spreadable butter category, used on plastic tubs and containers.’
      • ‘Seal the drying salt in an airtight container such as a glass jar or plastic tub.’
      • ‘Regular, light and fat-free sour creams in conveniently sized plastic tubs are also available.’
      • ‘As part of their recycling efforts, Susannah and her young family separated all the glass and plastic bottles and plastic tubs into the green box.’
      • ‘Polypropylene plastics are used in margarine tubs, sour cream containers, ketchup bottles and other food containers.’
      • ‘Butter has been stored and shipped in wooden barrels, casks, tubs, and eventually paraffin paper and parchment.’
      • ‘Flexible margarine tubs or whipped topping containers will warp or melt and leach chemicals in the microwave.’
      • ‘I've mentioned that the modern packaging has the petits suisses stored in little plastic tubs, but you have probably noticed it is not the case on the picture above.’
      • ‘We do have a small fridge where we could store fresh milk but it's shared between more than 100 people and it's already full of plastic tubs of salad.’
      • ‘Margarine tubs, yogurt & cottage cheese containers and egg cartons are fantastic for seed starting.’
      • ‘This simple sauce will last for a week in the fridge, or make up a batch and freeze in little plastic tubs so you can whip up a fresh meal at any time.’
      • ‘Hot food melts some plastics, such as margarine tubs, causing migration of package constituents.’
      • ‘We scooped up margarine tubs full of pond water and saw a host of living things in our little container.’
      • ‘Cardboard boxes are being replaced with plastic tubs, to deter mice, mud-wasps and suchlike.’
      • ‘In no time at all, I could untangle the mess as well as designing and making a superb drawer organiser from old egg boxes and margarine tubs.’
      pot, carton
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    2. 1.2The contents of a tub or the amount it can contain.
      ‘she ate a tub of yogurt’
      • ‘I'll be watching with breathless anticipation and a tub of popcorn.’
      • ‘Sit at home with a tub of ice-cream watching ‘Sleepless in Seattle’, or go out, meet someone new and maybe hit it off.’
      • ‘They're selling small tubs of ice-cream in the interval.’
      • ‘I'm going to get a tub of ice cream and cry myself to sleep.’
      • ‘Ever since the reality TV phenomenon has taken over the world of television, slouching on the couch with a tub of ice-cream has become a torture.’
      • ‘She insisted on paying so I bought a great tub of popcorn between us.’
      • ‘Jeff was sitting alone at a table, eating from a large tub of ice cream.’
      • ‘A tub of ice-cream with the film comes gratis, but wine is extra.’
      • ‘The storms and showers this summer may not have done much for the sales of ice-cream, but even when the rain is crashing down it can be difficult to resist a tub of the home-made variety.’
      • ‘There are hot dogs, burgers, salads and dips - many of which are made with packet soup whisked into a tub of sour cream with some herbs.’
      • ‘I guess digging into a tub of chocolate ice cream will be good.’
      • ‘When I opened it I pulled out a large tub of ice cream.’
      • ‘Gorging yourself on a tub of chocolate mousse ice-cream is not appropriate.’
      • ‘Environmental health chiefs who launched a probe after a York woman discovered a piece of glass in a tub of ice-cream have drawn a blank.’
      • ‘You get a separate tray full of salad and a tub of chilli sauce.’
      • ‘This was accompanied by a small, warm baguette and a tub of butter.’
    3. 1.3A washtub.
      • ‘She grabbed a wooden wash tub and took a rag and lifted his shirt.’
      • ‘A nurse was standing nearby, holding a small tub of warm water.’
      • ‘I started to unbutton my jacket as she stoked the fire around the tub of bath water.’
      • ‘Emily was sitting on a chair, next to the washtub, talking to Hannah, who was kneeling at the tub helping a girl bath.’
      • ‘Baths were taken in tubs and emptied after use on shrubs in the courtyard.’
    4. 1.4North American informal A bath.
      ‘a soak in the tub’
      • ‘My wife had gone for a walk for exercise and Zack was finishing his bath in the tub.’
      • ‘To use, add two tablespoons or more to a warm tub of bath water.’
      • ‘She got up out of bed and walked towards the bathroom and she began to draw her hot bath in her Jacuzzi tub.’
      • ‘Again, you want to be sure that the bag is not colored with dye because that can leak out during a bath and stain the tub as well as your guest.’
      • ‘I ran the water into the tub, pouring in bath oils while undressing.’
      • ‘The location is spectacular, with very rustic - even for this part of the world - cabins and mineral water bathing tubs.’
      • ‘Instantly, feeling the pain, she decided to take a warm bath in the tub.’
      • ‘These hotels usually offer butler service, large bathrooms with soaking tubs, spa-inspired bath products, and high-end bed linens.’
      • ‘This signature treatment begins with a bath in the hydrotherapy tub using turquoise bath oils.’
      • ‘Finishing up there, she moved to the bathroom where she drew a steaming bath in the tub.’
      • ‘The first time we taught Leta that she could use her arms to create tidal waves in the tub we were still bathing her in the sink.’
      • ‘Bath oils used in the bath water make the tub too slippery and should not be used.’
      bath, bathtub
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    5. 1.5Mining A container for conveying ore, coal, etc.
      ‘they are loading the coal into tubs for transportation’
      • ‘The horse gin was a horse-driven winding machine used to raise coal in tubs or baskets.’
      • ‘He defined it as the number placed by the miner on the tubs of coal filled.’
      • ‘We saw a model of a woman pulling a tub full of coal along a tunnel while a child aged about six worked as a trapper, opening and shutting air doors to allow air to circulate along the roadways.’
      • ‘Although he did not get any severe injury in his mining career, he had earlier had three fingers crushed when a full tub of coal jumped off the rails.’
  • 2informal, derogatory A short, broad boat that handles awkwardly.

    ‘the old tub's in need of a refit’
    • ‘You'd think they would be wise and paint their boats, but they pick out the worst old tubs for their rum ships.’
    • ‘The old tub, carrying a load of oil pregnant with toxins and separated from the sea by a single layer of metal, should never have been allowed to leave the Baltic Sea.’
    • ‘It hit their little boat so hard that the wooden tub shattered on contact and blew all four friends onto the shore.’
    • ‘I decided to check out this new boat even though I was looking forward to travelling the 2 hours on the old tub just like the old days.’
    • ‘This tub could make only about eight or nine knots (nautical miles per hour).’


  • 1Plant in a tub.

    ‘tubbed fruit trees’
    • ‘A tubbed specimen of miscanthus may be only half the size of an in-ground plant, yet it can serve a similar purpose.’
    • ‘This is now the pre-packing hub for all the company's tubbed butter markets as well as the foil pre-packing facility for France, Benelux and southern Europe.’
    • ‘Sales of the tubbed butter grew by more than 40% on last year.’
  • 2dated Wash or bathe in or as in a tub or bath.

    ‘even your formal evening gown can be tubbed’
    • ‘The feet can be tubbed and cold hosed during the first few hours to reduce inflammation.’
    1. 2.1British informal [no object]Have a bath.
      ‘she's revolting—she doesn't tub’


Middle English: probably of Low German or Dutch origin; compare with Middle Low German, Middle Dutch tubbe.