Etymology
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nub (n.)

"knob, lump, bump, protuberance," 1590s, variant of dialectal knub, which is probably a variant of knob. Figurative meaning "point, gist" is attested by 1834.

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Definitions of nub

nub (n.)
a small lump or protuberance;
Synonyms: nubble
nub (n.)
a small piece;
a nub of coal
Synonyms: stub
nub (n.)
the choicest or most essential or most vital part of some idea or experience;
the nub of the story
Synonyms: kernel / substance / core / center / centre / essence / gist / heart / heart and soul / inwardness / marrow / meat / pith / sum / nitty-gritty
From wordnet.princeton.edu