Definition of stub in English:

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Pronunciation: /stəb/


1The truncated remnant of a pencil, cigarette, or similar-shaped object after use.
Example sentences
  • Working by candlelight with the stub of his last pencil, he finally achieved the transformation of a humble o into the majestic 0.
  • When Amiry was writing her script, her husband hoarded her pencil stubs, revealing his secret stash in Medium of Love.
  • Are there any others out there who find comfort in the stub of pencil on a string and other mildly eccentric aspects of elections past?
butt, (tail) end
stump, remnant, (tail) end
1.1A truncated or unusually short thing: he wagged his little stub of tail
More example sentences
  • The second cut should be outside the first cut, all the way through the branch, leaving a short stub.
  • Deb harvests cuttings from her potted succulents, leaving short stubs of stem that can be poked through the wreath's outer layer of moss.
  • A Siamese had only a stub of a tail, a short-haired spotted cat walked strangely, with only three legs.
1.2 [as modifier] Denoting a projection or hole that goes only part of the way through a surface: a stub tenon
More example sentences
  • Two stub walls with ample storage for china and linens loosely define the seating and dining areas.
  • The massive columns were delivered to the site with stub pieces prewelded to them, and the steel beams were bolted to those stubs.
  • Is there a minimum or maximum stub length required for Y cables?
2The part of a check, receipt, ticket, or other document torn off and kept as a record.
Example sentences
  • You can use ticket stubs or ribbons or receipts or photos or envelopes or napkins to mark your place in books.
  • The INS recommends that tourists bring hotel receipts and ticket stubs from sightseeing destinations and transportation.
  • Fans will also have to retain ticket stubs during the game to ensure that they are in the correct seats.
counterfoil, ticket slip, tab

verb (stubs, stubbing, stubbed)

[with object]
1Accidentally strike (one’s toe) against something: I stubbed my toe, swore, and tripped
More example sentences
  • Amy cried out as she accidentally stubbed her toe on one of the wooden bedposts.
  • People are stubbing their toes and feet and falling all over.
  • I am always stubbing my toe, smashing my arms against walls, tripping over, scratching myself.
2Extinguish (a lighted cigarette) by pressing the lighted end against something: she stubbed out her cigarette in the overflowing ashtray
More example sentences
  • All ashtrays must be removed and provision made at the entrance to premises where cigarettes can be stubbed out.
  • The scene made Lady Peacemaker think of a giant cigarette butt being stubbed out.
  • Kienan stubbed out his cigarette in the ashtray and lit another, grimacing imperceptibly as he did.
3Dig up (a plant) by the roots.


Old English stub(b) 'stump of a tree', of Germanic origin. The verb is first recorded (late Middle English) in sense 3 of the verb; sense 1 of the verb (mid 19th century) was originally a US usage.

  • A stub was originally a tree stump. From this developed the general idea of a portion being left behind when something has been removed, such as a counterfoil in a chequebook or a cigarette butt. The verb was initially used in the sense ‘to dig up a plant by the roots’. The meaning ‘to accidentally strike’, as in ‘I stubbed my toe’, was first used in the USA in the mid 19th century. Stubborn may be based on stub, though this is by no means certain. A stub or tree stump is difficult to remove, so there may be a connection. Stubborn originally meant ‘untameable or ruthless’ before the modern meaning, ‘obstinate’, emerged.

Words that rhyme with stub

blub, bub, chub, Chubb, club, cub, drub, dub, flub, grub, hub, nub, pub, rub, scrub, shrub, slub, snub, sub, tub

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: stub

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