Main definitions of scrub in 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’
    • ‘While she scrubbed him she would invariably speak to him of the importance of personal hygiene.’
    • ‘Step by step, however, the soil was scrubbed, the rail spur built, the masterplan drawn.’
    • ‘This warhorse has been scrubbed clean and readied for a new campaign.’
    • ‘When he got home he thoroughly soaped and scrubbed the parts.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Unusual materials such as plank flooring - scrubbed with grain for decades exposing an articulated wood grain pattern - were turned into exquisite trim stock.’
    • ‘Furthermore, work areas are constantly being cleaned, scrubbed or otherwise maintained to a near-spotless condition.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Unlike many of the villages we've passed, this one appears scrubbed.’
    • ‘Twenty young trainees from banks in Birmingham, Brighton, London, Newport, Andover and Bristol, brushed, scrubbed, painted and spruced up the pens.’
    • ‘After you've scrubbed your bathroom and kitchen floors, you don't want to walk on them for days.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We pack the clean eggs directly in cartons and scrub the soiled eggs under running water before packing them.’
    • ‘Its clothing is bleached, starched, and pressed, and its face is scrubbed clean.’
    • ‘So they scrubbed away at the pictures, removing grime and, with it, layer after layer of thinly applied paint.’
    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’
      • ‘A tear or two rolled down her face, but she scrubbed it away.’
      • ‘He scrubbed the accumulated blood off, keeping his eyes closed.’
      • ‘Dumping shampoo and conditioner on my head, I squirted some shower gel on a sponge and scrubbed the grime off my body.’
      • ‘She scrubbed the dirt off of her body until she was satisfied.’
      • ‘Well it took me 3 days to scrub the burnt rice off that pan.’
      • ‘It is applied with a cotton mop and eliminates copper much more quickly than scrubbing it away with a bore brush.’
      • ‘She looked embarrassed at first, before she scrubbed it away furiously.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I tried to scrub it off in the bathroom, but it wouldn't come off.’
      • ‘She didn't much care for the idea but quickly bathed and scrubbed the dirt off of her body.’
    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.’
      • ‘She urged anyone coming into contact with the water to scrub up with soap and water.’
      • ‘The job obviously requires you to scrub up for surgery and bare below the elbow when examining patients.’
    3. 1.3informal Cancel or abandon (something)
      ‘they aren't going to want to scrub the mission’
      • ‘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,’
      • ‘The first two planned races had to be scrubbed because of blustery winds and rough seas.’
      • ‘I just may have to scrub the whole thing and go back to version 1.’
      • ‘If this means the profile's scrubbed, ‘he continues, ‘that's fine by me.’’
      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.’
      • ‘The gas from the separator is scrubbed with water to recover additional vinyl acetate.’
      • ‘To win, the system should be able to scrub the equivalent of at least a billion tons of the greenhouse gas a year.’
    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.
      • ‘But you could see me scrubbing him the whole way in the Belmont, and not going anywhere.’
      • ‘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.’

noun

  • 1An act of scrubbing something or someone.

    ‘give the floor a good scrub’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Finally after some hours my friend caught him and gave him a good scrub and detoxified him as best he could.’
    • ‘Performing a surgical hand scrub before a surgical procedure is intended to reduce the number of microorganisms.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 2A semiabrasive cosmetic lotion applied to the face or body in order to cleanse the skin.

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

    informal term for scrub suit
    • ‘Soon, we were joined by a doctor wearing green scrubs.’
    • ‘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.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

scrub

/skrəb//skrəb/

Main definitions of scrub in English

: scrub1scrub2

scrub2

noun

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

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

    ‘scrub apple trees’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They prefer grasslands, chaparral, and scrub oak areas to forage for food.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Basal diameter and height of each scrub oak stem within the plot were recorded.’
    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.’
      • ‘Our goats are specially bred for milk production as well as for show, not ‘backyard’ scrub goats.’
      • ‘Scrub bull hunts are conducted in conjunction with our North Queensland wild boar hunts.’
  • 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.
      • ‘They said that he was a scrub and would never do anything that good - unfortunately he did.’
      • ‘He is not a scrub, but let's not get that hall of fame speech ready yet.’
      • ‘He was a scrub for ten years in football at a private school because playing football was mandatory.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

scrub

/skrəb//skrəb/