When you scrub something, you wash it forcefully. You might scrub your dirty bathtub with a brush and some bleach, for example.

When you scrub your floor, you use elbow grease — in other words, you work hard to get the floor clean. You might need to scrub your fingernails after a morning working on your car's engine, rubbing with a nail brush to get the grease off. Word experts think that scrub comes from the Middle Low German word schrubben, which also means "to scrub."

Definitions of scrub
  1. verb
    wash thoroughly
    “surgeons must scrub prior to an operation”
    synonyms: scrub up
    see moresee less
    type of:
    lave, wash
    cleanse (one's body) with soap and water
  2. verb
    clean with hard rubbing
    “She scrubbed his back”
    synonyms: scour
    see moresee less
    scrub with a holystone
    type of:
    move over something with pressure
  3. noun
    the act of cleaning a surface by rubbing it with a brush and soap and water
    synonyms: scouring, scrubbing
    see moresee less
    mopping, swabbing
    cleaning with a mop
    type of:
    cleaning, cleansing, cleanup
    the act of making something clean
  4. verb
    postpone indefinitely or annul something that was scheduled
    “we had to scrub our vacation plans”
    synonyms: call off, cancel, scratch
  5. noun
    dense vegetation consisting of stunted trees or bushes
    synonyms: bush, chaparral
    see moresee less
    type of:
    botany, flora, vegetation
    all the plant life in a particular region or period
  6. adjective
    (of domestic animals) not selectively bred
    not made more desirable or valuable or profitable; especially not made ready for use or marketing
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week