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rub (someone or an animal) down
to stroke or massage someone or an animal, for muscular well-being. Sam rubbed his horse down after his ride. He rubbed down his horse.
Briskly rub the body, as in a massage. For example, The trainer rubs down marathon runners, or That horse needs rubbing down. This expression was first used (and still is) for rubbing away dust and sweat from a horse. [Late 1600s]
1. To rub someone or something thoroughly in order to dry, polish, or coat the surface: I stepped out of the shower and rubbed myself down with a towel. Grab that towel and help me rub down the car. I rubbed down the top of the table with sandpaper. I rubbed myself down with suntan lotion.
2. To massage someone or something thoroughly: The trainer rubbed the boxer down after the match. The hotel masseuse can rub down 20 tourists a day.
3. To work something, such as seasoning, into food by rubbing: It's best to rub the meat down with pepper before cooking. Rub down the surface of the bread with garlic.