Main definitions of scrub in US English:

: scrub1scrub2

scrub1

verb

[with object]
  • 1Rub (someone or something) hard so as to clean them, typically with a brush and water.

    ‘he had to scrub the floor’
    ‘she was scrubbing herself down at the sink’
    no object ‘she scrubbed furiously at the plates’
    • ‘As soon as he was gone, Charlie stalked off to where Lisa and her mother scrubbed potatoes into a bucket and rinsed them off in seawater.’
    • ‘This warhorse has been scrubbed clean and readied for a new campaign.’
    • ‘It's a fine and noble thing to allow children a glimpse into our nation's rich past, even if the view is filtered through a rose-colored lens that has been scrubbed as clean as patent leathers.’
    • ‘Furthermore, work areas are constantly being cleaned, scrubbed or otherwise maintained to a near-spotless condition.’
    • ‘After you've scrubbed your bathroom and kitchen floors, you don't want to walk on them for days.’
    • ‘We scrub down our kitchens and bathrooms with antimicrobial cleansers, make sure to cook our hamburgers thoroughly and swallow antibiotics to treat strep throat infections.’
    • ‘I rubbed and scrubbed that thing, until it fairly shone and glistened in the morning sun.’
    • ‘Scoff you may, but in a sterile world, the wall is just one more thing to scrub down.’
    • ‘Step by step, however, the soil was scrubbed, the rail spur built, the masterplan drawn.’
    • ‘While she scrubbed him she would invariably speak to him of the importance of personal hygiene.’
    • ‘We pack the clean eggs directly in cartons and scrub the soiled eggs under running water before packing them.’
    • ‘Twenty young trainees from banks in Birmingham, Brighton, London, Newport, Andover and Bristol, brushed, scrubbed, painted and spruced up the pens.’
    • ‘So they scrubbed away at the pictures, removing grime and, with it, layer after layer of thinly applied paint.’
    • ‘Unlike many of the villages we've passed, this one appears scrubbed.’
    • ‘Unusual materials such as plank flooring - scrubbed with grain for decades exposing an articulated wood grain pattern - were turned into exquisite trim stock.’
    • ‘Its clothing is bleached, starched, and pressed, and its face is scrubbed clean.’
    • ‘When he got home he thoroughly soaped and scrubbed the parts.’
    scour, rub, brush, sponge, swab, clean, cleanse, wash, wipe
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1scrub something away/off Remove dirt by rubbing hard.
      ‘it took ages to scrub off the muck’
      • ‘It is applied with a cotton mop and eliminates copper much more quickly than scrubbing it away with a bore brush.’
      • ‘He scrubbed the accumulated blood off, keeping his eyes closed.’
      • ‘Some of our body therapy treatments involve dead sea salt and dead sea mud, which are very good for scrubbing toxins away and getting the toxins out of your muscles as well as your skin.’
      • ‘Dumping shampoo and conditioner on my head, I squirted some shower gel on a sponge and scrubbed the grime off my body.’
      • ‘She didn't much care for the idea but quickly bathed and scrubbed the dirt off of her body.’
      • ‘I tried to scrub it off in the bathroom, but it wouldn't come off.’
      • ‘A tear or two rolled down her face, but she scrubbed it away.’
      • ‘They should not try to scrub the lesions away, and they should not use alcohol-based astringents that can dry and irritate their skin.’
      • ‘The day I scrubbed the blood off my camera bag was the first time I really cried.’
      • ‘I started at the bay windows, scrubbing the grime away and bleaching the suspected mold.’
      • ‘She scrubbed the dirt off of her body until she was satisfied.’
      • ‘She looked embarrassed at first, before she scrubbed it away furiously.’
      • ‘Well it took me 3 days to scrub the burnt rice off that pan.’
    2. 1.2scrub upno object Thoroughly clean one's hands and arms, especially before performing surgery.
      ‘the doctor scrubbed up and put on a protective gown’
      • ‘NHS staff are taking a leading role in a new regionwide campaign encouraging people to scrub up well.’
      • ‘Former nurses say there was a reluctance on the part of medical staff to enter the unit and all staff were made to scrub up carefully to prevent infection.’
      • ‘The job obviously requires you to scrub up for surgery and bare below the elbow when examining patients.’
      • ‘She urged anyone coming into contact with the water to scrub up with soap and water.’
    3. 1.3informal Cancel or abandon (something)
      ‘they aren't going to want to scrub the mission’
      • ‘I just may have to scrub the whole thing and go back to version 1.’
      • ‘If a child shows an aptitude and a burning desire to play the violin, the plan for her to train for World Cup soccer may have to be scrubbed,’
      • ‘If this means the profile's scrubbed, ‘he continues, ‘that's fine by me.’’
      • ‘The first two planned races had to be scrubbed because of blustery winds and rough seas.’
      abolish, scrap, throw out, abandon, drop, do away with, give up, discontinue, take away, stop, put an end to, cancel, call off, eliminate, cut, jettison, discard, forget, forget about, abort
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4 Remove impurities from (gas or vapor).
      • ‘Once the gas is extracted, it is scrubbed to remove acids and dehumidified.’
      • ‘The gas is then scrubbed with a high-boiling organic solvent which is miscible with water and to which sulfur is added.’
      • ‘To win, the system should be able to scrub the equivalent of at least a billion tons of the greenhouse gas a year.’
      • ‘The gas from the separator is scrubbed with water to recover additional vinyl acetate.’
    5. 1.5no object (of a rider) rub the arms and legs urgently on a horse's neck and flanks to urge it to move faster.
      • ‘Now he was back-pedalling quickly and the jockey was hard at work on him, scrubbing him along frantically but getting no response.’
      • ‘Usually at Cheltenham you're scrubbing the heads off your horses trying to get them closer.’
      • ‘But you could see me scrubbing him the whole way in the Belmont, and not going anywhere.’

noun

  • 1An act of scrubbing something or someone.

    ‘give the floor a good scrub’
    • ‘Performing a surgical hand scrub before a surgical procedure is intended to reduce the number of microorganisms.’
    • ‘Once your finish coat loses it's shine it's time for a scrub and recoat.’
    • ‘Study participants perform one surgical hand scrub on day one of the test week and are immediately gloved.’
    • ‘By spending less than 1 – 2 minutes to give yourself a whole-body scrub from head to toe, you can boost the skin's resistance to outside temperature change.’
    • ‘Finally after some hours my friend caught him and gave him a good scrub and detoxified him as best he could.’
  • 2A semiabrasive cosmetic lotion applied to the face or body in order to cleanse the skin.

    • ‘After soaking, experience a mango sugar scrub to reduce age spots and fine lines.’
    • ‘7 Remove calluses with a pumice stone or exfoliating scrub.’
    • ‘When using an alcohol-based surgical hand scrub with persistent activity, follow the manufacturer's instructions.’
    • ‘Shower gels and a nice bath scrubby, maybe a little pot of sugar scrub.’
    • ‘Other joints give you long rather torturous salt and lemon exfoliating body scrubs first and then apply the stuff.’
    • ‘And my apricot exfoliating facial scrub sits above the sink next to my Morning Fresh dishwashing detergent.’
    • ‘If you're rushed in the shower, smooth feet with an oil-based salt or sugar scrub.’
  • 3scrubsinformal

    another term for scrub suit
    • ‘He was wearing green scrubs and looked like a surgeon coming down the hall.’
    • ‘We continue to hear about facilities that home launder their surgical scrub attire.’
    • ‘Dull paint job, old marble floors and the staff are actually wearing cheesy looking hospital scrubs.’
    • ‘Soon, we were joined by a doctor wearing green scrubs.’

Origin

Late 16th century: probably from Middle Low German, Middle Dutch schrobben, schrubben.

Pronunciation

scrub

/skrəb//skrəb/

Main definitions of scrub in US English:

: scrub1scrub2

scrub2

noun

  • 1Vegetation consisting mainly of brushwood or stunted forest growth.

    • ‘There are considerable areas of birch scrub in Iceland and at exposed coastal sites in north Norway.’
    • ‘Along the way, the river cuts through oak savannas, desert scrub, and grassland expanses.’
    • ‘Inland wetlands can be differentiated by their dominant vegetation: emergent vegetation wetlands, scrub shrub wetlands, and forested wetlands.’
    • ‘Conservation of remnant scrub vegetation is a matter of state and national concern.’
    • ‘The Kalahari is a green desert, largely of low thorn scrub and acacia trees.’
    • ‘Following fencing, scrub clearance and introduction of sheep grazing a good chalk grassland flora is starting to re-establish including the rare ground pine which relies on sheep grazing to survive.’
    • ‘Reestablishment of scrub vegetation on phosphate mines has been attempted with varying success.’
    • ‘The 10-hectare piece of chalk grassland was losing its chalk grassland plants due to more than 90% scrub invasion.’
    • ‘Images of barren trees, dry scrub and leaf-scattered ground present the rural Virginia landscape in December.’
    brush, brushwood, scrubland, undergrowth, coppice, copse, thicket
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Land covered with scrub.
      • ‘The men cross the dunes; afternoon light throws long shadows onto the scrub.’
      • ‘Scrubby flatwoods are commonly adjacent to or intermixed and integrated with rosemary scrub.’
      • ‘The first division separated inland forest from inland scrub habitats.’
      • ‘Volatile substances released by Salvia and other aromatic shrubs in coastal sage scrub are complex compounds.’
      • ‘Coastal rock and scrub habitats are easily distinguished by the species present and by the geographical location.’
      • ‘At last, there are plans to turn the scrub into a proper park.’
      • ‘Gap dynamics and the availability of open space differ between rosemary scrub and scrubby flatwoods.’
      • ‘And during the negotiations, about 3,700 acres of coastal sage scrub were destroyed.’
      • ‘Covered with scrub, native mesquite trees and low wild grasses, the desert site slopes gently down to the south.’
      brush, brushwood, scrubland, undergrowth, coppice, copse, thicket
      View synonyms
  • 2as modifier Denoting a shrubby or small form of a plant.

    ‘scrub apple trees’
    • ‘Basal diameter and height of each scrub oak stem within the plot were recorded.’
    • ‘Invasive plants including grasses, scrub guava trees and sugar cane stretched from one end of the property to the other, and the fertility of the fragile tropical soils had long been depleted.’
    • ‘They prefer grasslands, chaparral, and scrub oak areas to forage for food.’
    • ‘In rural southwest Georgia, Highway 137 heads out of tiny Buena Vista, past neatly kept lawns, then through patches of kudzu and stands of scrub pine.’
    1. 2.1North American Denoting an animal of inferior breed or physique.
      ‘a scrub bull’
      • ‘Before the stock law was enacted nearly every farmer had a herd of scrub sheep running ‘outside’ on mountains and hills.’
      • ‘Scrub bull hunts are conducted in conjunction with our North Queensland wild boar hunts.’
      • ‘Our goats are specially bred for milk production as well as for show, not ‘backyard’ scrub goats.’
  • 3informal An insignificant or contemptible person.

    • ‘Any poor scrubs in our place must be fools not to think the match a very rare and astonishing honour, as far as the position goes.’
    1. 3.1North American (in sports) a player not among the best or most skilled.
      • ‘He was a scrub for ten years in football at a private school because playing football was mandatory.’
      • ‘He is not a scrub, but let's not get that hall of fame speech ready yet.’
      • ‘They said that he was a scrub and would never do anything that good - unfortunately he did.’

Origin

Late Middle English (in the sense ‘stunted tree’): variant of shrub.

Pronunciation

scrub

/skrəb//skrəb/