There are 2 main definitions of rubber in English:

rubber1

Line breaks: rub¦ber
Pronunciation: /ˈrʌbə
 
/

noun

1 [mass noun] A tough elastic polymeric substance made from the latex of a tropical plant or synthetically: heat and sunlight may cause rubber to deteriorate [as modifier]: a rubber dinghy a rubber plantation
More example sentences
  • One advantage of this material is that it is more resistant to alcohols than natural rubber latex and vinyl.
  • Recently, a coworker told me that there is an alternative to conventional rubber latex that is not a synthetic product.
  • Many of the ailments were caused by the ammonia that is added to rubber latex mixture to keep it liquid.
2British A piece of rubber used for erasing pencil or ink marks: a pencil with a rubber at the end
More example sentences
  • Each case has been filled with much needed resources for the children including pens, pencils, rubbers, rulers and pencil sharpeners.
  • They returned delighted, with pens, pencils, rubbers and badges - mementoes from the trip.
  • We'll have the usual sort of thing for children like baseball caps, pens, books, CDs, rubbers and pencils.
3 (rubbers) North American Rubber boots; galoshes.
More example sentences
  • You may have your boots, rubbers and scarf, but are you still depending on your thin fall jacket to keep you warm throughout the seemingly endless winter months?
  • If you don't find any attractive rubbers, leave your shoes at work and buy yourself a nice pair of boots.
  • To make things easier for you, we conducted our own test of the top-rated rubbers.
4North American informal A condom.
More example sentences
  • It'd be a good idea to back the rubbers up with some foam.
  • A couple of beers and a few albums later, Jake asked if Mark had any rubbers.
  • Didn't think I was gonna get lucky, so I didn't take any rubbers out with me, and I didn't have any change to get some when I did.

Origin

mid 16th century: from the verb rub + -er1. The original sense was 'an implement (such as a hard brush) used for rubbing and cleaning'. Because an early use of the elastic substance (previously known as caoutchouc) was to rub out pencil marks, rubber gained the sense 'eraser' in the late 18th century The sense was subsequently (mid 19th century) generalized to refer to the substance in any form or use, at first often differentiated as India rubber.

Phrases

where (or when) the rubber meets (or hits) the road

US informal The point at which a theory or idea is put to a practical test: the differences between effective and ineffective teachers show up where the rubber meets the road, in the brains of the students
[with reference to the informal use of rubber to refer to the tyres of a vehicle]
More example sentences
  • Jackson has been a prosecutor, inside the courtroom, where the rubber hits the road.
  • This is where the rubber hits the road, where abstract financial questions acquire real life meaning.
  • But when the rubber hits the road, we are the owners and we do make that clear.

Derivatives

rubberiness

noun
More example sentences
  • The cheese is much sweeter and the soft, melting texture has none of the rubberiness of grated pizza cheese.
  • It is soft, almost spreadable and it melts smoothly and completely, exuding little oil, showing no stringiness and it cools soft and smooth without rubberiness.

rubbery

adjective
More example sentences
  • The baby doll, which stands about 12 inches high, is made of a soft rubbery material.
  • Gluten is the elastic, rubbery protein present in wheat, rye, barley and to a lesser degree in oats.
  • As can be expected with squid, the meat had a slightly rubbery texture, but the combination of flavours was unusual and sensational.

Definition of rubber in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

There are 2 main definitions of rubber in English:

rubber2

Line breaks: rub¦ber
Pronunciation: /ˈrʌbə
 
/

noun

1A contest consisting of a series of successive matches (typically three or five) between the same sides or people in cricket, tennis, and other games: the opening rubber of Britain’s Davis Cup tie against Argentina
More example sentences
  • They couldn't beat Jill Schofield and Viv Williamson but won five of the rubbers, top scorers for Poppleton being Kath Halliday and Hilary Spencer winning 22 games.
  • In the opening contest of the night Lismore City narrowly defeated RSL six rubbers to five.
  • Appleton Roebuck against Wheldrake in division three provided quality tennis worthy of a higher division, the first five rubbers being drawn.
1.1 (also rubber match or rubber game) A deciding game in a rubber of cricket, tennis, etc.
1.2 Bridge A unit of play in which one side scores bonus points for winning the best of three games: the total score, including 700 for the rubber, was 2,620 [as modifier]: she supplemented her income with her winnings at rubber bridge
More example sentences
  • In rubber bridge one does not often come across complicated systems and partnership agreements.
  • If they take all the tricks they score four games and thus win the rubber immediately.
  • The highest score past 250 points wins the rubber.

Origin

late 16th century: of unknown origin; early use was as a term in bowls.

Definition of rubber in: