A nub is a little piece of something, especially one that sticks out. The raised rubber buttons on your TV remote control are nubs.

Tiny lumps or bits are nubs, like the nubs on tree branches that will become buds in the spring, or the nubs on a crocheted blanket, little woven bumps. Another kind of nub is the heart or essence of something: one incriminating piece of evidence might be the nub of a judge's decision in a case. The "lump" meaning is older, stemming from knob, while the "essence" meaning dates from the nineteenth century.

Definitions of nub

n a small lump or protuberance

Type of:
bulge, bump, excrescence, extrusion, gibbosity, gibbousness, hump, jut, prominence, protrusion, protuberance, swelling
something that bulges out or is protuberant or projects from its surroundings

n a small piece

“a nub of coal”
a small nub (especially an undeveloped fruit or ear of corn)
Type of:
part, piece
a portion of a natural object

n the choicest or most essential or most vital part of some idea or experience

“the nub of the story”
center, centre, core, essence, gist, heart, heart and soul, inwardness, kernel, marrow, meat, nitty-gritty, pith, substance, sum
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bare bones
(plural) the most basic facts or elements
(metaphysics) essential nature or underlying reality
haecceity, quiddity
the essence that makes something the kind of thing it is and makes it different from any other
the purest and most concentrated essence of something
a critically important or characteristic component
Type of:
cognitive content, content, mental object
the sum or range of what has been perceived, discovered, or learned

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