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rub salt in(to) the/(one's) wound(s)

To make something that is already difficult, unpleasant, or painful even worse; to accentuate, aggravate, or intensify a negative situation, emotion, or experience (for someone). After losing the championship match, it really rubbed salt in John's wound for his girlfriend to break up with him the next day. My pride was already hurting when I didn't get the job, but hearing that they gave it to Dave really rubbed salt into the wound. I can't believe you would ask me to pay you back on the day that I got laid off. Thanks for rubbing salt in my wounds, man.
See also: rub, salt

rub (one) the wrong way

To irritate one due to someone or something's presence, nature, or habitual behavior (as opposed to directly and intentionally). Primarily heard in US. The way she smiles all the time really rubs me the wrong way. It seems so fake. He's always talking about how those commercials rub him the wrong way, but I think they're cute.
See also: rub, way, wrong

rub (one) up the wrong way

To irritate one due to someone or something's presence, nature, or habitual behavior (as opposed to directly intentionally). Primarily heard in UK, Australia. The way she smiles all the time really rubs me up the wrong way. It seems so fake. He's always talking about how those adverts rub him up the wrong way, but I think they're just a bit of fun.
See also: rub, up, way, wrong

rub elbows

To interact or mingle with a person or group. I don't want to go to the gala tonight, but my wife is eager to rub elbows with the upper class. I've been rubbing elbows all night, and now I'd like to just have some quiet time.
See also: elbow, rub

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?
See also: off, on, rub

rub one off

vulgar slang To masturbate.
See also: off, one, rub

rub one out

vulgar slang To masturbate.
See also: one, out, rub

rub out

1. To erase, remove, or destroy. A noun or pronoun can be used between "rub" and "out." Janet stealthily rubbed out their names and wrote ours on the application instead. You'll need a powerful cleaning solution if you want to rub that stain out from the carpet.
2. slang To murder someone. A noun or pronoun can be used between "rub" and "out." They tried to rub out the witness before he could testify, but the police intervened and saved her life. They're going to rub Manny out if he doesn't step in line.
See also: out, rub

be rubbing (one's) hands (with glee)

To be very enthusiastic or happy about something, typically another's misfortune. The CEO was practically rubbing his hands with glee when he heard that our rival company had gone bankrupt.
See also: hand, rubbing

rub (one's) hands

To be in keen or greedy anticipation (of something). The announcement has many shareholders rubbing their hands gleefully, as their investments will likely double almost overnight. We were rubbing our hands at the thought of a rematch against the team that robbed us of a spot in the finals so many years ago.
See also: hand, rub

rub down

To stroke, rub, or massage someone's or an animal's body. A noun or pronoun can be used between "rub" and "down." Make sure you rub down the horses after the guests are back from their rides. My husband offered to rub me down after I came home from running the marathon.
See also: down, rub

rub (one's) nose in (something)

To remind one of some failure or wrongdoing. Often phrased as "rub (one's) nose in it." Rather than rubbing these ex-convicts' noses in their past misdeeds, we should be creating opportunities for them to help them find a better, more productive life. Whenever I make a mistake, my obnoxious co-worker is always eager to rub my nose in it.
See also: nose, rub

rub up on

1. Literally, to rub against someone or something in an intense or persistent manner. The girl I started dating has a dog that rubs up on me whenever I go over to her house. The elephant started rubbing up on our jeep, making me nervous that it would tip us over.
2. To refamiliarize oneself with or stimulate one's memory about a topic or issue. I need to rub up on factorials before attempting to teach them on Monday. I'm spending the weekend rubbing up on Japanese before we fly to Tokyo on Monday.
See also: on, rub, up

rub (up) against (someone or something)

1. To exert pressure on and move in contact with someone or something. The girl I started dating has a dog that rubs up against me whenever I go over to her house. There's a piece of metal rubbing against the tire that's causing it to wear down very quickly.
2. To exert pressure on and move something while in contact with someone or something else. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "rub" and "(up) against." Someone was rubbing their hand up against my back on the train. It made me really uncomfortable. The elephant rubbed its hindquarters against the large boulder to relieve its itching.
3. To contradict or come into conflict with someone or something. The new report, cowritten by nearly two dozen of the world's top scientists, rubs up against the government's official stance on climate change. Some people simply refuse to accept reality when it rubs up against their own personal world views.
See also: rub

rub at (something)

To exert pressure on and move in contact with something. Make sure not to rub at your eye if you've got something in there—it will only make it more irritated. He rubbed at the coin with a cloth to make it shine a bit brighter.
See also: rub

rub away

1. To exert pressure on and move in continuous contact with something for some extended period of time. A noun or pronoun can be used between "rub" and "away." Often followed by "at something." He rubbed away at the rare coin with a polishing cloth to make it shine like new. I've been rubbing away for nearly 10 minutes, but I just can't seem to get this stain out. Something must be rubbing away at the tire, because it shouldn't be wearing down this quickly.
2. To clean, clear, or remove something with a rubbing motion. A noun or pronoun can be used between "rub" and "away." Let me just rub some of this dirt and grime away so I can make out the inscription on the headstone. This new phone has a really slick design, but I feel like I'm constantly rubbing away fingerprints smudges.
See also: away, rub

rub (something) into (something)

To use a forceful rubbing action to apply some substance to a surface and cause it to soak or penetrate into it. The doctor told me to rub this salve into the affected area on my face for two to three weeks. I make a point of rubbing this waterproofing conditioner into my leather boots once a week to protect them from the rainy climate here.
See also: rub

rub (something) (all) over (someone or something)

To spread some substance evenly across the surface of something or on someone's skin with a rubbing motion. You'll want to rub the mixture of herbs and spices all over the meat before you pop it in the oven. The doctor told me to rub this salve over the burns on my skin.
See also: over, rub

rub (multiple things) together

To exert pressure on two or more things while moving them in continuous contact with one another to create friction. Starting a fire isn't just as easy as rubbing two sticks together. She put soap in her hands and rubbed them together to form a lather.
See also: rub, together

rub up

To cause something to be raised up as a result of rubbing it. A noun or pronoun can be used between "rub" and "up." Don't rub up my hair like that! Cats hate it when you rub their fur up by petting them from back to front.
See also: rub, up

rub (someone or something) with (something)

1. To press something on someone or something while moving it in continuous contact with them or it. You should only rub your glasses with microfiber cloths when you're cleaning them, otherwise you could scratch the lenses. The nursed rubbed the patient with a soft sponge to clean away the dirt from his wounds.
2. To cover someone or something with some substance by rubbing it on them or it. Next, rub the meat with the mixture of herbs and spices, and then pop it in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. The masseuse rubbed me with oil before beginning the massage.
See also: rub

rub elbows (with someone)

 and rub shoulders with someone
Fig. to associate with someone; to work closely with someone. (No physical contact is involved.) I don't care to rub elbows with someone who acts like that! I rub shoulders with John at work. We are good friends.
See also: elbow, rub

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.
See also: down, rub

rub someone out

Sl. to kill someone. (Underworld.) The gunman was eager to rub somebody out. The crooks tried to rub out the witness.
See also: out, rub

rub something away

to remove something by chafing or rubbing. See if you can rub some of the dirt away. Rub away the dirt if you can.
See also: away, rub

rub something out

to obliterate something by rubbing. See if you can rub those stains out. Rub out the graffiti on the side of the car if you can.
See also: out, rub

rub something up

to raise something, such as the nap of a rug, by rubbing. When you run the vacuum cleaner across the floor, you rub the nap of the rug up and get the dirt out. Don't rub up the nap.
See also: rub, up

rub down

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]
See also: down, rub

rub out

1. Obliterate or erase by, or as if by, rubbing. For example, Bill was so busy rubbing out the old markings that he forgot to put in new ones. [Mid-1600s]
2. Murder, kill, as in They threatened to rub him out if he didn't pay up. [Slang; mid-1800s]
See also: out, rub

rub up on

Refresh one's knowledge, as in I must rub up on my French before we leave for Paris. [Second half of 1700s] Also see brush up, def. 2.
See also: on, rub, up

be rubbing your hands


be rubbing your hands together

mainly BRITISH
COMMON If someone is rubbing their hands or rubbing their hands together, they are very pleased or excited about something. The four remaining firms will be rubbing their hands at the prospect of new clients and fat fees. The folks at the record company must have been rubbing their hands together when they heard this band. Note: This expression is often used to imply that someone is being greedy or is unpleasantly pleased about someone else's failure.
See also: hand, rubbing

be rubbing your hands with glee

If someone is rubbing their hands with glee, they are very pleased about something, often something that is bad for someone else. Already the newspapers were rubbing their hands with glee and calling the place "Dr. Terry's House of Horrors". The party leaders are rubbing their hands with glee at Mr Galloway's troubles.
See also: glee, hand, rubbing

rub down

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.
See also: down, rub

rub out

1. To erase or obliterate something by or as if by rubbing: He tried to rub the paint out from the fabric. She rubbed out the grease with a sponge.
2. Slang To kill someone; murder someone: The gangsters rubbed out one of the witnesses.
See also: out, rub

rub up on

To refresh one's knowledge of: I have to rub up on my French.
See also: on, rub, up
References in periodicals archive ?
Almost without exception, I've learned early season bucks in my area go through a concentrated rubbing ritual after feeding all night.
The control strategy in this paper consists of two steps: at first, when the rotor is rubbing with the active auxiliary bearing, the feedback actuation is applied by the active auxiliary bearing to drive rotor to the desired status.
A total of 100 Yellow-wood stems was assessed for antler rubbing in each gully, and this required assessing the 50 plants closest to two randomly generated locations within each gully.
By rubbing, children find beauty in the surface of objects and feel free to use the object in interpretations, overlapping printed layers, creating new patterns and connections with the lifted impressions.
Black Tigers is one such book, for it encapsulates, in remarkably lucid prose, the lifetime of experience that its author, Kenneth Starr (formerly of the Field Museum in Chicago and the Milwaukee Public Museum), brings to the study of ink rubbings. Prior to its publication, even readers with a great aesthetic, historical, or commercial interest in the history of rubbings had few places to go to learn more about the history of collecting and the criteria for connoisseurship, unless they were willing and able to devote several years of full-time study to such classic works as Ouyang Xiu's Jigu lu, Gu Yanwu's Jinshi wenzi ji, Chen Jieqi's Chuangu bielu, and Yan Gengwang's Shike shiliao congshu.
When you're collecting bark rubbings, ask yourself questions.
They have been able to try out brass rubbing themselves, as well as seeing the work of experts.
Until now, the only method to reliably align the molecules involved rubbing a polymer substrate with a velvet cloth.
Key words: Ceratotherium simum, Commiphora marlothii, scent marking, sign-posting, tree rubbing, white rhinos, zoopharmacognosy
In every whitetail habitat there is a well-established hierarchy of tree and shrub species favored for rubbing. The most favored are usually resinous trees, commonly species having somewhat soft bark, and almost always aromatic.
First, if there is something in the eye, rubbing it could actually scratch the cornea of the eye or the lining of the eye and eyelid.
In a section of de Waal's book titled "Make Love, Not War," the author describes observing a female bonobo defuse a potentially dangerous standoff between two camps by rubbing her clitoris on an aggressive male.
Vigorous rubbing of the eyelid, although not a primary cause of drooping eyelid, can aggravate the condition.
The electrical phenomenon was produced by rubbing, and Guericke in 1660 fashioned a globe of sulfur that could be rotated on a crank-turned shaft.
Tenders are invited for 66 ea 8~-9" rubbing edge member north wales station provide platform rubbing edge strips and per the specification for platform rubbing edge; 66 ea 7~-3" rubbing edge member.