1896, reub, from shortened form of the men's proper name Reuben (q.v.), which is attested from 1804 as a conventional type of name for a country man.
late 14c., Hikke, a popular pet form of the masc. proper name Richard (compare Hod from Robert, Hodge from Roger). Meaning "awkward provincial person" was established by 1700 (see rube); earlier it was the characteristic name of a hosteler, hackneyman, etc. (late 14c.), perhaps via alliteration. The adjective is recorded by 1914.
A hick town is one where there is no place to go where you shouldn't be. [attributed to U.S. humorist Robert Quillen (1887-1948)]
1940, in reference to U.S. cartoonist Reuben Lucius Goldberg (1883-1970) who devised fantastically complex gadgetry to accomplish simple tasks. His British counterpart was Heath Robinson (1872-1944).
masc. proper name, Old Testament eldest son of Jacob and name of the tribe descended from him, from Greek Rouben, from Hebrew Reubhen, probably literally "Behold a son," from reu, imperative of ra'ah "he saw" + ben "a son."
As a typical name of a farmer, rustic, or country bumpkin, from 1804. The Reuben sandwich of corned beef, sauerkraut, etc., on rye bread, an American specialty (1956) is the same name but "Not obviously connected" with the "country bumpkin" sense in rube [OED], but is possibly from Reuben's restaurant, a popular spot in New York's Lower East Side. Various other Reubens have been proposed as the originator.
1904, of a woman's body, "rounded and alluringly plump," of the type characteristic of the paintings of Flemish painter Sir Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640). For "of or characteristic of Rubens or his work," Rubensian (1890) has been used.
"German measles," contagious disease characterized by rose-colored eruptions, 1883, Modern Latin, literally "rash," from noun use of neuter plural of Latin rubellus "reddish," diminutive of ruber "red" (from PIE root *reudh- "red, ruddy.").
"making red, causing redness," 1804, from Latin rubefacientem (nominative rubefaciens), present participle of rubefacere "to make red," from rubeus "red, reddish" (related to ruber, from PIE root *reudh- "red, ruddy") + facere "to make" (from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put"). As a noun, "substance producing redness in the skin," 1805.
"fourth-rate, worthless" (as in a jay town), 1888, American English, earlier as a noun, "hick, rube, dupe" (1884); apparently from some disparaging sense of jay (n.). Perhaps via a decaying or ironical use of jay in the old slang sense "flashy dresser." Century Dictionary (1890s) notes it as actors' slang for "an amateur or poor actor" and as an adjective a general term of contempt for audiences.
"A jay hasn't got any more principle than a Congressman. A jay will lie, a jay will steal, a jay will deceive, a jay will betray; and, four times out of five, a jay will go back on his solemnest promise. The sacredness of an obligation is a thing which you can't cram into no blue-jay's head." ["Mark Twain," "A Tramp Abroad"]
They were said to be disliked by hunters because their cries aroused deer. Barrère and Leland's "Dictionary of Slang, Jargon & Cant"  describes the noun as an American term of contempt for a person, "a sham 'swell;' a simpleton," and suspect it might be from jayhawker.
1901, "stupid or foolish person," probably a shortening of muttonhead (1803) in the same sense; see mutton and compare meathead, etc. Mutt was used by 1898 of a dog, especially a stupid one, and perhaps this is the same word formed independently (muttonhead also was used of stupid animals), or else a separate word of unknown derivation. Wright's "English Dialect Dictionary" (1900) has "Mutton! used in scolding a dog, prob. in allusion to the offence of sheep-worrying."
"That dog ain't no mutt," McManus would say as he stood behind the bar opening oysters; "no an he ain't no rube! Say! he's in it all the time when Charley trims the steaks." [Robert W. Chambers, "The Haunts of Men," 1898]
Used by 1910 in dog fancier publications to refer to a non-purebred animal.
Mutt and Jeff is by 1917 in reference to "a pair of stupid men, affable losers," or to one tall (Mutt) and one short (Jeff), from the comic strip characters from the heyday of the newspaper funny pages, Augustus Mutt and Jim Jeffries, in U.S. cartoonist Henry Conway ("Bud") Fisher's strip, which debuted in 1907.