"act of rubbing," 1610s, from rub (v.). Earlier it meant "obstacle, inequality on ground" (1580s), a sense common in 17c., especially in the game of bowls, in reference to something that slows or deflects a bowl, on the notion of "rubbing against" it. Hence the figure in Hamlet's there's the rub (1602). The earlier noun was rubbing (late 14c.).
early 14c., rubben, transitive and intransitive, "apply friction on a surface; massage (the body or a part of it)," a word of uncertain origin, perhaps related to East Frisian rubben "to scratch, rub," and Low German rubbeling "rough, uneven," or similar words in Scandinavian (compare Danish rubbe "to rub, scrub," Norwegian rubba), all of uncertain origin. Related: Rubbed; rubbing.
To rub (someone) the wrong way is by 1853; probably the notion is of animals and their fur. To rub noses in greeting as a sign of friendship (attested from 1822) said to have been formerly common among Eskimos, Maoris, and some other Pacific Islanders. Rub out is from late 14c. as "scrape away," also figurative; the meaning "obliterate" is from 1560s; underworld slang sense of "kill" is recorded from 1848, American English. Rub off "remove by rubbing" is from 1590s; rub off on "have an influence on" is recorded by 1959.
"that which is up," 1530s, from up (adv.). Phrase on the up-(and-up) "honest, straightforward" first attested 1863, American English.
Old English up, uppe, from Proto-Germanic *upp- "up" (source also of Old Frisian, Old Saxon up "up, upward," Old Norse upp; Danish, Dutch op; Old High German uf, German auf "up"; Gothic iup "up, upward," uf "on, upon, under;" Old High German oba, German ob "over, above, on, upon"), from PIE root *upo "under," also "up from under," hence also "over."
As a preposition, "to a higher place" from c. 1500; also "along, through" (1510s), "toward" (1590s). Often used elliptically for go up, come up, rise up, etc. Up the river "in jail" first recorded 1891, originally in reference to Sing Sing, which is up the Hudson from New York City. To drive someone up the wall (1951) is from the notion of the behavior of lunatics or caged animals. Insulting retort up yours (scil. ass) is attested by late 19c.
prefix with various senses, from Old English up (adv.), corresponding to similar prefixes in other Germanic languages.
1550s, "to drive and catch (swans)," from up (adv.). Intransitive meaning "get up, rise to one's feet" (as in up and leave) is recorded from 1640s. Sense of "to move upward" is recorded from 1737. Meaning "increase" (as in up the price of oil) is attested from 1915. Compare Old English verb uppian "to rise up, swell." Related: Upped; upping. Upping block, used for mounting or dismounting horses, carriages, etc., is attested from 1796 (earlier was horsing-block, 1660s).
c. 1300, "dwelling inland or upland," from up (adv.). Meaning "going up" is from 1784. From 1815 as "excited, exhilarated, happy," hence "enthusiastic, optimistic." Up-and-coming "promising" is from 1848. Musical up-tempo (adj.) is recorded from 1948.
1787, echoic of the sound of a drum.