Definition of tub in English:



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

    ‘hydrangeas in a patio tub’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The local committee has purchased a number of new tubs which have been planted over the weekend.’
    • ‘If there are flowers planted in tubs or beds in your area we ask you to please help keep them watered regularly.’
    • ‘Even if you have only a small garden, growing them in tubs or large pots can be just as effective.’
    • ‘The ones previously planted out into a tub are really growing well; the ones in the cold frame are still little.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Over recent weeks the group have planted up flower tubs around the village, removed weeds and cared for flower beds and done some paintwork.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Finally, the pupils used six tubs to plant strawberry runners.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The two blueberries were a little more tricky, since they were already planted into their large tubs and well settled.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We also bought 4 windowboxes for the front of the house, and 4 tubs of bedding plants to put in them.’
    • ‘Be sure the bottom of the tub is clean and free of any soap residue.’
    • ‘While herbaceous perennials are best grown together in a border, they work just as well grouped in patio tubs and pots.’
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A small round plastic or cardboard container with a flat bottom in which food is bought or stored.
      ‘a margarine tub’
      • ‘Polypropylene plastics are used in margarine tubs, sour cream containers, ketchup bottles and other food containers.’
      • ‘Plastic lids also continue to impact the dairy-based spread and spreadable butter category, used on plastic tubs and containers.’
      • ‘Hot food melts some plastics, such as margarine tubs, causing migration of package constituents.’
      • ‘Margarine tubs, yogurt & cottage cheese containers and egg cartons are fantastic for seed starting.’
      • ‘Targeted towards kids, the gum balls are distributed in a 36-count plastic tub.’
      • ‘Seal the drying salt in an airtight container such as a glass jar or plastic tub.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Butter has been stored and shipped in wooden barrels, casks, tubs, and eventually paraffin paper and parchment.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We scooped up margarine tubs full of pond water and saw a host of living things in our little container.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Flexible margarine tubs or whipped topping containers will warp or melt and leach chemicals in the microwave.’
      • ‘Cardboard boxes are being replaced with plastic tubs, to deter mice, mud-wasps and suchlike.’
      • ‘Regular, light and fat-free sour creams in conveniently sized plastic tubs are also available.’
      • ‘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.’
      pot, carton
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 The contents of a tub or the amount it can contain.
      ‘she ate a tub of yogurt’
      • ‘You get a separate tray full of salad and a tub of chilli sauce.’
      • ‘Sit at home with a tub of ice-cream watching ‘Sleepless in Seattle’, or go out, meet someone new and maybe hit it off.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They're selling small tubs of ice-cream in the interval.’
      • ‘This was accompanied by a small, warm baguette and a tub of butter.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I'll be watching with breathless anticipation and a tub of popcorn.’
      • ‘Gorging yourself on a tub of chocolate mousse ice-cream is not appropriate.’
      • ‘She insisted on paying so I bought a great tub of popcorn between us.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A tub of ice-cream with the film comes gratis, but wine is extra.’
      • ‘Jeff was sitting alone at a table, eating from a large tub of ice cream.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
    3. 1.3 A washtub.
      • ‘Emily was sitting on a chair, next to the washtub, talking to Hannah, who was kneeling at the tub helping a girl bath.’
      • ‘A nurse was standing nearby, holding a small tub of warm water.’
      • ‘Baths were taken in tubs and emptied after use on shrubs in the courtyard.’
      • ‘She grabbed a wooden wash tub and took a rag and lifted his shirt.’
      • ‘I started to unbutton my jacket as she stoked the fire around the tub of bath water.’
    4. 1.4North American informal A bathtub.
      • ‘This signature treatment begins with a bath in the hydrotherapy tub using turquoise bath oils.’
      • ‘One of the few luxuries her room had was the sunken bath tub.’
      • ‘Finishing up there, she moved to the bathroom where she drew a steaming bath in the tub.’
      • ‘I shook the thoughts out of my head and drained the tub.’
      • ‘John said, " I'm going to fill the hot tub.’
      • ‘These hotels usually offer butler service, large bathrooms with soaking tubs, spa-inspired bath products, and high-end bed linens.’
      • ‘She got up out of bed and walked towards the bathroom and she began to draw her hot bath in her Jacuzzi tub.’
      • ‘Instantly, feeling the pain, she decided to take a warm bath in the tub.’
      • ‘Bath oils used in the bath water make the tub too slippery and should not be used.’
      • ‘To use, add two tablespoons or more to a warm tub of bath water.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I drain the tub and run the shower, get him rinsed… finally.’
      • ‘My wife had gone for a walk for exercise and Zack was finishing his bath in the tub.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘"It can't be that funny right now, " Ike drained the tub.’
      bath, bathtub
      View synonyms
    5. 1.5Mining A container for conveying ore, coal, etc.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He defined it as the number placed by the miner on the tubs of coal filled.’
      • ‘The horse gin was a horse-driven winding machine used to raise coal in tubs or baskets.’
  • 2informal, derogatory An old, awkward, or run-down vessel.

    • ‘This tub could make only about eight or nine knots (nautical miles per hour).’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It hit their little boat so hard that the wooden tub shattered on contact and blew all four friends onto the shore.’
    • ‘You'd think they would be wise and paint their boats, but they pick out the worst old tubs for their rum ships.’


  • 1usually as adjective tubbedPlant in a tub.

    ‘tubbed fruit trees’
    • ‘Sales of the tubbed butter grew by more than 40% on last year.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 2dated Wash or bathe (someone or something) in or as in a tub or bath.

    • ‘The feet can be tubbed and cold hosed during the first few hours to reduce inflammation.’
    1. 2.1British informal no object Take a bath.


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