use-icon

HOW TO USE THE DICTIONARY

Learn what the dictionary tells you about words.

Get Started Now!

Some compound words (like bus rapid transit, dog whistle, or identity theft) don’t appear on the drop-down list when you enter them into the search window. If a compound term doesn’t appear in the drop-down list, try entering the term into the search window and then hit the search button (instead of the “enter” key). Alternatively, begin searches for compound terms with a quotation mark.

use-icon

THE USAGE PANEL

The Usage Panel is a group of nearly 200 prominent scholars, creative writers, journalists, diplomats, and others in occupations requiring mastery of language. The Panelists are surveyed annually to gauge the acceptability of particular usages and grammatical constructions.

The Panelists

puzzle-icon

NEED HELP SOLVING A CROSSWORD PUZZLE?

Go to our Crossword Puzzle Solver and type in the letters that you know, and the Solver will produce a list of possible solutions.

open-icon

INTERESTED IN DICTIONARIES?

Check out the Dictionary Society of North America at http://www.dictionarysociety.com

open-icon

AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY APP

The new American Heritage Dictionary app is now available for iOS and Android.

scroll-icon

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:

Indo-European Roots

Semitic Roots

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.

open-icon

OPEN DICTIONARY PROJECT

Share your ideas for new words and new meanings of old words!

Start Sharing Now!

100-words-icon

See word lists from the best-selling 100 Words Series!

Find out more!

scrub 1 (skrŭb)
Share:
v. scrubbed, scrub·bing, scrubs
v.tr.
1.
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.
3. Computers
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.
v.intr.
To clean or wash something by hard rubbing: Don't forget to scrub behind your ears.
n.
1. The act or an instance of scrubbing.
2. A preparation or product used in scrubbing.
Phrasal Verb:
scrub up
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.]

scrubba·ble adj.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
scrub 2 (skrŭb)
Share:
n.
1. Vegetation consisting chiefly of shrubs and small trees.
2. An area covered with such vegetation; shrubland.
3. A domestic animal that is feral or not purebred.
4. Slang A contemptible or incompetent person.
5. Sports A player not on the varsity or first team.

[Middle English, variant of shrub; see SHRUB1.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

This website is best viewed in Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or Safari. Some characters in pronunciations and etymologies cannot be displayed properly in Internet Explorer.