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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 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 someone else'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 (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 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 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 ?
Rubbing is an ancient Chinese skill that is used to create exact copies of the characters and patterns on gigantic cultural relics.
Starr's appendix 2 on "Terms for Rubbings and Related Processes" and appendix 3, "Terms for Papers Used to Make Rubbings" (the latter supplementing van Gulik's work in the 1950s), (3) alone are worth the modest price of the book.
12), that bamboo-fiber paper and heavy ink were used both in Tang and Ming rubbings.
The four art-making processes students use in this lesson are rubbing, stenciling, stamping, and block printing.
Next, glue or tape your bark rubbings to contrasting paper and hang them on your walls.
They have been able to try out brass rubbing themselves, as well as seeing the work of experts.
And finally, the fish rubbings were cut out and placed on top of these watery background designs.
IN a picture postcard house just behind the river, the brass rubbing centre is an intimate and inviting spot.
Regular features of the centre include the narrow gauge engine Pixie, which will be giving rides around the garden, the model railway and brass rubbing tuition.
In this printmaking project, which is suitable for any grade level, my kindergarten class used one original cardboard collage, with surface texture, as a plate for several multiple-image techniques--crayon rubbing, embossing, and printing.
We sort out collections after each trip and informally print playful rubbings.
Armed with black crayons and a choice of colored construction paper, we ventured outside to gather visual representations of textures through crayon rubbings.
This, the fourth lesson in this series, uses actual texture as a source for rubbings, which are cut into shapes and arranged to form a T, thereby creating a letter made up of several different textured transfers.
I was invited to browse through samples of leaf rubbings on paper aprons and bookmarks, displayed on her boutique's bulletin board.
I've extended the project with leaf rubbings, stencils and rubbing plates for younger grades.