rub off on (someone)
1. To come off (of something else) after being rubbed. Don't worry, if you use a warm, damp towel, the makeup will just rub right off.
2. To remove some substance off of a surface by rubbing. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "rub" and "off." You'd better rub that paint off before it has a chance to dry!
3. To have one's characteristics, mannerisms, or behavior be adopted by someone with whom one has spent a lot of time. Usually followed by "on someone." Peter's been very unruly lately. I think the Thompsons' little brat has been rubbing off on him. I want you to spend a month mentoring with Sarah here. Hopefully, some of her talent and work ethic will rub off.
4. To cause one to feel irritated, upset, disgusted, or ill at ease. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "rub" and "off." The waiter's condescending remarks really rubbed me off wrong, you know? He has a knack for rubbing off his clients with his abrasive personality.
5. vulgar slang To masturbate. Used especially in the form "rub one off."
6. vulgar slang To bring someone to orgasm with one's hands.
rub off on (someone)
To have one's characteristics, mannerisms, or behavior be adopted by someone with whom one has spent a lot of time. Peter's been very unruly lately. I think that new kid is rubbing off on him. It seems like your boss's greed is rubbing off on you—is money all you care about now?
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
rub something off (of) somethingand rub something off
to remove something from something by rubbing. (Of is usually retained before pronouns.) The butler rubbed the tarnish off the pitcher. The butler rubbed off the dark tarnish. rub something onto something and rub something on to apply something onto the surface of something by rubbing. Alice rubbed suntan lotion onto her arms and legs. Rub on some of this lotion.
rub off (on someone)
[for a characteristic of one person] to seem to transfer to someone else. I'll sit by Ann. She has been lucky all evening. Maybe it'll rub off on me. Sorry. I don't think that luck rubs off.
rub off on(to) someone or something
[for something, such as a coating] to become transferred to someone or something through the contact of rubbing. Look what rubbed off on me! The wet paint rubbed off onto my pants leg.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
rub off on
Become transferred to another, influence through close contact, as in We hoped some of their good manners would rub off on our children. This idiom alludes to transferring something like paint to another substance by rubbing against it. [Mid-1900s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
1. To remove or erase something from a surface by or as if by rubbing: The mechanic grabbed a rag and rubbed off the grease. Don't scrub too hard, or you'll rub the paint off the car.
2. To be removed or be capable of being removed from a surface by rubbing: The ink on the table won't rub off. The newsprint rubbed off on my fingers.
3. To pass from one person to another through direct association, as of a quality: We hope some of her enthusiasm rubs off. I'm glad to see their good manners have rubbed off on you.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.