From Middle English rubben, possibly from Low German rubben, rubbeling or Saterland Frisian rubben. Or, of North Germanic origin, such as Swedish rubba ("to move, scrub"), all from Proto-Germanic *reufaną ("to tear").
Cognate with Saterland Frisian rubje, German Low German rubben, Low German rubblig, Dutch robben, rubben, Danish rubbe, Icelandic and Norwegian rubba.
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