scrub 1 (skrŭb)
v. scrubbed, scrub·bing, scrubs
a. To rub hard in order to clean: scrubbed the floor.
b. To remove (dirt or stains) by hard rubbing.
2. To remove impurities from (a gas) chemically.
a. To maintain the integrity of by finding and correcting errors: software that automatically scrubs stored data.
b. To erase in such a way as to render unrecoverable: scrubbed the laptop's hard drive to destroy incriminating evidence.
4. Slang To cancel or abandon; drop: We had to scrub our plans for vacation.
To clean or wash something by hard rubbing: Don't forget to scrub behind your ears.
1. The act or an instance of scrubbing.
2. A preparation or product used in scrubbing.
To wash the hands and arms thoroughly, as before performing or participating in surgery.
[Middle English shrubben, scrobben, to currycomb a horse, rub oneself, from Middle Dutch schrobben, to clean by rubbing, scrape; see sker-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.