rub elbows with, to

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rub elbows with

Also, rub shoulders with. Mix or socialize with, as in There's nothing like rubbing elbows with the rich and famous, or At the reception diplomats were rubbing shoulders with heads of state. Both of these terms allude to being in close contact with someone. [Mid-1800s]
See also: elbow, rub
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.

rub elbows with, to

To associate unexpectedly closely with. This term originated in Britain as rub shoulders with, which is still the more common locution there. Thackeray used it in his Book of Snobs (1848): “She had rubbed shoulders with the great.” Elbows are preferred in America, as in Upton Sinclair’s muckraking novel, The Jungle (1906): “Young white girls from the country rubbing elbows with big buck Negroes with daggers in their boots.”
See also: elbow, rub
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
Express Employment Professionals Business Developer Jennifer Henderson went to Dallas last June in order to rub elbows with top flight "grand champion" sales associates.
One is that you get to rub elbows with some of the other leaders in the bar.
Since President Donald Trump assumed office 15 months ago, the hotel has become a go-to destination for those wanting to rub elbows with administration insiders.
The annual spectacle also allowed Akhuetie to rub elbows with rivals on the court, as he played alongside Arellano's Jiovani Jalalon and got mentored by San Beda's head coach Jamike Jarin.
With an amazing aptitude for playing the lute, Nelleke uses her musical abilities to rub elbows with the likes of Queen Elizabeth and William Shakespeare, but then must embark on a mission to save her vampire coven from a dangerous talisman and the villains who control it.
The two boxing champions didn't mind taking a wee time off their training to rub elbows with other celebrity folks.
Whether the initial draw for this weekend's event is the cantor's singing or the rabbi's speech, Selichot at Park East has become an important event on the social calendars of New York's elite, a place to rub elbows with the who's who of Jewish society.
Wine connoisseurs and beer lovers who want to rub elbows with kindred spirits have a few choices this week:
We tend to rub elbows with the latest prefab architect or the rising-star winemaker rather than hobnob with Brangelina.
Now in its 13th year, this is the only awards show to cast its discerning eye over all the arts - so the likes of theatre big-wig and Outstanding Achiever Sir Cameron Mackintosh gets to rub elbows with, er, pop prize-winners Elbow.
Honed by Waterloo, surrounded by the likes of the Prince Regent, and eventually up to his impeccable collar in debt, Gronow describes the gentleman's son's life in the army, including the surprisingly rigid etiquette of camp life, the Hyde Park set, the glories and ignominies of real war, the life in Paris of debtors and idlers (the article on how to get invited to a ball is particularly enlightening), and the best way to rub elbows with royalty, high society, and ladies with lovers.
In an attempt to dodge that bullet, I reminded him, "Remember, if you become a politician, you'll have to rub elbows with other politicians every day, and some of those guys are so corrupt that they could pick the gold fillings out of your teeth while you're awake.
The Circus Sarasota gala was definitely an interactive event, as guests had the chance not only to rub elbows with professional clowns, jugglers and aerialists but to try a little performing themselves.