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Two rubbers (erasers)


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈɹʌbə(ɹ)/, [ˈɹɐbə(ɹ)]
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈɹʌbɚ/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌbə(ɹ)

Etymology 1Edit

From rub +‎ -er.

The sense of the substance comes from its ability to function as an eraser, displacing earlier caoutchouc. The senses not having to do with rubbing or erasing are secondarily derived from the name of the substance.


rubber (usually uncountable, plural rubbers)

  1. (uncountable) Pliable material derived from the sap of the rubber tree; a hydrocarbon polymer of isoprene.
  2. (uncountable, countable) Synthetic materials with the same properties as natural rubber.
  3. (countable, Britain, Australia, New Zealand) An eraser.
    • 2006, Lisa Kervin, Research for Educators, page 148,
      For example, they may use paddle pop sticks, hand span, pencils, rubbers, mathematics equipment (i.e. base 10 material) or anything else the teacher can find to measure the lengths of nominated objects.
    • 2010, Anna Jacobs, Beyond the Sunset, unnumbered page,
      Drawing materials, he thought, I used to love drawing as a lad. I can afford some plain paper and pencils, surely? And a rubber, too. He smiled at the memory of an elderly uncle, also fond of drawing, who′d always called rubbers ‘lead eaters’.
    • 2011, Patrick Lindsay, The Spirit of the Digger, Revised edition, unnumbered page,
      Stan stole a diary and some pens, pencils, ink and rubbers during his early days as a POW working on the Singapore docks.
  4. (countable, Canada, US, slang) A condom.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:condom
    • 1979, “At Home He's A Tourist”, in Entertainment!, performed by Gang of Four:
      And the rubbers you hide / In your top left pocket
  5. (countable) Someone or something which rubs.
    • 1949, LIFE (11 July 1949, page 21)
      What perplexity plagues the chin-rubber in the foreground and what so discourages the man leaning on the lamp post? And to what doom is the large man at right moving? Photographer Cowherd has no answers.
    1. One who rubs down horses.
    2. One who practises massage.
      • 1607 [1601], John Marston, What You Will:
        I curl his perriwig, paint his cheeks, perfume his breath; I am his froterer or rubber in a hot-house
    3. A coarse towel for rubbing the body.
    4. An abrasive for rubbing with: a whetstone, file, or emery cloth, etc.
  6. (historical) The cushion of an electric machine.
  7. (countable, baseball) The rectangular pad on the pitcher's mound from which the pitcher must pitch.
    Synonyms: pitcher's plate, pitcher's rubber
    Jones toes the rubber and then fires to the plate.
  8. (Canada, US, in the plural) Water-resistant shoe covers, galoshes, overshoes.
    Johnny, don't forget your rubbers today.
  9. (uncountable, slang) Tires, particularly racing tires.
    Jones enters the pits to get new rubber.
  10. (slang, dated) A hardship or misfortune.
    • 1814, The Weekly Register (volume 5, page 302)
      The British barges, off New-London, sometimes meet with the rubbers. In an attack upon an armed smack, some days ago, they were beaten off, with the reported loss of 8 men killed.
    • 1843, John Castillo, Awd Isaac: The Steeple Chase, and Other Poems (page 101)
      'Twas a bit gone December, / As I well remember, / I met with a rubber, and got some advice; []
Derived termsEdit
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


  • Sikaiana: lapa



  1. (slang, of a draft/check) Not covered by funds on account.
  • (of a draft/check): hot, bad
    I wouldn't take a check from him. They're pure rubber.
Usage notesEdit

Colloquially, a check that has insufficient funds to cover it is said to "bounce"; consequently, a check that will immediately bounce is referred to as "rubber" or a "rubber check."


Etymology 2Edit

Origin unknown.


rubber (plural rubbers)

  1. (sports) In relation to a series of games or matches between two competitors where the overall winner of the series is the competitor which wins a majority of the individual games or matches:
    1. The entire series, of an odd number of games or matches in which ties are impossible (especially a series of three games in bridge or whist).
      • 1828 Robert Huish The Red Barn: A Tale, Founded on Fact p.83:
        They played, and Creed and his young partner won the first rubber, winning the two first games running.
      • 1907 May 25, in The Publishers' Weekly, number 1843, page 1608 [1]:
        [] an old lady's innocent rubber.
    2. An individual match within the series (especially in racquet sports).
  2. (sports, Canada, US) A rubber match; a game or match played to break a tie.
  3. The game of rubber bridge.
    • 1891, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Red-Headed League
      "Still, I confess that I miss my rubber. It is the first Saturday night for seven-and-twenty years that I have not had my rubber." "I think you will find that you will play for a higher stake to-night than you have ever done yet, and that the play will be more exciting."
Derived termsEdit

Etymology 3Edit

(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.)


rubber (third-person singular simple present rubbers, present participle rubbering, simple past and past participle rubbered)

  1. (telephony) To eavesdrop on a telephone call
    • 1999, Los Angeles Times, "Party's Over for Rural Phone Customers in Green Mountain State," (Jan. 31, 1999):
      "There's a lot of nostalgia about the phone and how it was the way to get the local news," said Jane Beck of the Vermont Folklife Center in Middlebury. One way was "rubbering," or listening in on a neighbor's conversations ...
  2. (slang) To rubberneck; to observe with unseemly curiosity.




Borrowed from English rubber.



rubber n (plural rubbers, diminutive rubbertje n)

  1. (uncountable) rubber (pliable material derived from the sap of the rubber tree)
  2. piece of rubber used in machines
  3. a condom

Derived termsEdit

West FrisianEdit



rubber c or n (no plural)

  1. rubber

Further readingEdit

  • rubber (I)”, in Wurdboek fan de Fryske taal (in Dutch), 2011



  1. rubber


This adjective needs an inflection-table template.

Further readingEdit

  • rubber (II)”, in Wurdboek fan de Fryske taal (in Dutch), 2011