One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A tough elastic polymeric substance made from the latex of a tropical plant or synthetically.
- ‘I use synthetic rubber almost exclusively, and it's certainly soft and pliable.’
- ‘This bouncy rubber was surprisingly tough stuff.’
- ‘Mikki was explaining the details while messing about with a small electric pump and ten feet of black rubber tubing.’
- ‘The bands are basically thick rubber tubing that is colour-coded to various levels of strength.’
- ‘I was shocked to see that it had rubber tires rather than steel wheels.’
- ‘When working with any finish, open windows and wear a respirator and latex or rubber gloves.’
- ‘The range mats are made of hard black rubber strips that resemble the insides of tires.’
- ‘Lifesavers have issued a stark safety warning after a family's frolics ended in the desperate rescue of a small child whose rubber dinghy was swept out to sea.’
- ‘You should wear eye goggles, a mask over your nose and mouth, and rubber or latex gloves.’
- ‘Many of the ailments were caused by the ammonia that is added to rubber latex mixture to keep it liquid.’
- ‘To avoid rounding over the corners use a hard rubber or wooden sanding block, not a power sander.’
- ‘Many of those rescued had been blown out to sea on rubber dinghies.’
- ‘One advantage of this material is that it is more resistant to alcohols than natural rubber latex and vinyl.’
- ‘Wear shoes with soft leather tops and flexible crepe or foam rubber soles.’
- ‘Recently, a coworker told me that there is an alternative to conventional rubber latex that is not a synthetic product.’
- ‘Often, parents or caregivers are not aware of the risk of sensitivity to natural rubber latex.’
- ‘I fixed it with rubber elastic bands to reduce vibrations and noise.’
- ‘You can have any message stamped over the rubber band bracelets, or designs crafted on them.’
- ‘Using a rubber spatula, fold in the oats, apricots, and pistachios.’
- ‘The company specializes in handcrafted, original woodblock rubber stamps.’
- 1.1rubbersNorth American Rubber boots; galoshes.
- ‘In other ways, though, he's just an overgrown boy, and he does need looking after -- he hasn't any sense about wearing rubbers when it rains.’
- ‘You may have your boots, rubbers and scarf, but are you still depending on your thin fall jacket to keep you warm throughout the seemingly endless winter months?’
- ‘To make things easier for you, we conducted our own test of the top-rated rubbers.’
- ‘If you don't find any attractive rubbers, leave your shoes at work and buy yourself a nice pair of boots.’
- ‘When we got to San Marcos Square we saw many people wearing rubbers and some had yellow bags right up to their knees.’
- ‘Matt was dressed now and sat on the couch putting on his shoes and rubbers.’
- 1.2Baseball An oblong piece of rubber or similar material embedded in the pitcher's mound, on which the pitcher must keep one foot while delivering the ball.
- ‘A pickoff move is only legal if the pitcher steps off the rubber before trying to throw a base runner out.’
- ‘As we expected, every author claimed that the pitcher achieves velocity by pushing off the rubber with the back foot.’
- ‘So the pitcher steps off the rubber, rubs the ball in his hands, the stitches chafe across his palms, familiar and welcome.’
- ‘When the pitcher disengages the rubber, he must drop his hands to his sides.’
- ‘The pitcher releases the ball about 5 feet in front of the rubber, and the batter hits the ball about 1.5 feet in front of the plate.’
- ‘As a hole that has developed in front of the rubber gets deeper, all pitchers are forced to pitch from the same spot.’
- 1.3North American informal A condom.
- ‘It'd be a good idea to back the rubbers up with some foam.’
- ‘I think most guys would wear a rubber, but for some reason, guys get the opportunity to have sex when they least expect it, and therefore don't have protection with them.’
- ‘A couple of beers and a few albums later, Jake asked if Mark had any rubbers.’
- ‘Didn't think I was gonna get lucky, so I didn't take any rubbers out with me, and I didn't have any change to get some when I did.’
- 1.4British An eraser for pencil or ink marks.
- ‘Ask the children to take two pencils (perhaps red and blue), a rubber, a pencil sharpener and a ruler from their pencil cases.’
- ‘You have to rummage around in it for ages trying to find a rubber or pencil sharpener.’
- ‘We'll have the usual sort of thing for children like baseball caps, pens, books, CDs, rubbers and pencils.’
- ‘Suzie wore out 7 books of pencils and 36 rubbers correcting all the mistakes and making it readable.’
- ‘The organization is also also collecting pens, paper, rubbers, geometry sets, solar-powered calculators, rulers, felt tip pens and crayons which will be boxed up and sent to countries in eastern Europe.’
- ‘My son's pencil case contains a pencil, a ruler, pencil sharpener and a rubber.’
- ‘They returned delighted, with pens, pencils, rubbers and badges - mementoes from the trip.’
- ‘I caved in, bought a book, and even bought a pencil and a rubber.’
- ‘Each case has been filled with much needed resources for the children including pens, pencils, rubbers, rulers and pencil sharpeners.’
- ‘Check you've got pen/pencil, ruler, rubber and any extra equipment such as a calculator, dictionary, or text that you are allowed.’
informal Drive very fast.
where (or when) the rubber meets (or hits) the road
informal The point at which a theory or idea is put to a practical test.‘the differences between effective and ineffective teachers show up where the rubber meets the road, in the brains of the students’
- ‘In terms of moral values, this is where the rubber meets the road.’
- ‘The combination of riders and management is, of course, where the rubber meets the road.’
- ‘Army Reserve company commanders and first sergeants are where the training rubber meets the proverbial road.’
- ‘Those last two graphs show data points from two synthetic tests, but games are where the rubber meets the road.’
- ‘Jackson has been a prosecutor, inside the courtroom, where the rubber hits the road.’
- ‘It's critical to make sure the company's VCs share his vision so they will put in more money when the rubber hits the road.’
- ‘While other scopes may look good, how they perform optically is where the rubber meets the road.’
- ‘But when the rubber hits the road, it's rare that marketers dedicate any significant budget to things like product development.’
- ‘This is where the rubber hits the road, where abstract financial questions acquire real life meaning.’
- ‘But when the rubber hits the road, we are the owners and we do make that clear.’
Mid 16th century: from the verb rub + -er. The original sense was ‘an implement (such as a hard brush) used for rubbing and cleaning’. Because an early use of the elastic substance (previously known as caoutchouc) was to rub out pencil marks, rubber gained the sense ‘eraser’ in the late 18th century The sense was subsequently (mid 19th century) generalized to refer to the substance in any form or use, at first often differentiated as India rubber.
1A contest consisting of a series of successive matches (typically three or five) between the same sides or people in tennis, cricket, and other games.
- ‘Bubwith's Doug Smith and Shaun Pinchbeck did well to win a rubber and score 18.’
- ‘Bubwith rescued a point by winning the middle rubber 21-15.’
- ‘Five of the rubbers were 6-6 with Fulford taking the other four 7-5.’
- ‘Thursday's semi final will be a rubber match between the Warriors and second place Marauders.’
- ‘Clifton were a pairing short due to illness and then had to concede a further three rubbers owing to an injury picked up in the opening game of the first rubber.’
- ‘He captained Australia in the home series of 1924 / 5, winning the Ashes by 4 rubbers to 1, scoring 114 and 60 in the first Test at Sydney.’
- ‘Jill Norton and Heather Reynolds won all their rubbers to amass 27 games.’
- ‘Andy Jackson also performed well winning two singles rubbers for the Lismore team.’
- ‘Cawood's unbeaten third pair, Richard and Robert Taylor, dropped only one game in the first rubber scoring 24 overall.’
- ‘They couldn't beat Jill Schofield and Viv Williamson but won five of the rubbers, top scorers for Poppleton being Kath Halliday and Hilary Spencer winning 22 games.’
- ‘Five of the rubbers were 6-6, but top scorers John Dougherty and Betty Bainton sealed victory with a final 9-3 win.’
- ‘Clifton's match-winners were Mark Screeton and Stuart Robertson, who took all three rubbers in straight sets for a return of 90-35.’
- ‘In the opening contest of the night Lismore City narrowly defeated RSL six rubbers to five.’
- ‘Pocklington recorded their fifth win on the bounce in beating Heworth 68-40 in division five, but five of the nine rubbers were very close.’
- ‘Jean Jarem and Sandra Robinson were the only couple to win all their three rubbers, collecting 24 games.’
- ‘Four games in, the rubber was locked at 2-2 with Ashley looking to take the upper hand.’
- ‘Riverside sealed the men's division two title with a 6-3 win at Rowntree, whose Phil Grant was injured in the opening rubber.’
- ‘In their first outing as a team they were successful over Bryon Bay winning seven rubbers to five.’
- ‘Dave Hearn and Graeme Campbell took five wins from six rubbers for a two-match total of 177-90.’
- ‘Appleton Roebuck against Wheldrake in division three provided quality tennis worthy of a higher division, the first five rubbers being drawn.’
- 1.1 A deciding game in a rubber of cricket, tennis, etc.
- 1.2Bridge A unit of play in which one side scores bonus points for winning the best of three games.
- ‘The South London Area Gay Bridge Group provides a venue for gay people to meet to play rubber bridge.’
- ‘If they take all the tricks they score four games and thus win the rubber immediately.’
- ‘The highest score past 250 points wins the rubber.’
- ‘In rubber bridge one does not often come across complicated systems and partnership agreements.’
- ‘Often three rubbers of 7 deals are played, so that each player has a turn at being the first declarer.’
Late 16th century: of unknown origin; early use was as a term in bowls.
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