/ ˈrʌbə(r); NAmE / noun
[ U ] a strong substance that can be stretched and does not allow liquids to pass through it, used for making tyres, boots, etc. It is made from the juice of a tropical plant or is produced using chemicals :
a ball made of rubber
a rubber tree
—see also foam rubber , India rubber
[ C ] ( BrE ) (also eraser NAmE , BrE ) a small piece of rubber or a similar substance, used for removing pencil marks from paper; a piece of soft material used for removing chalk marks from a blackboard
[ C ] ( old-fashioned informal , especially NAmE ) = condom
[ C ] (in some card games or sports) a competition consisting of a series of games or matches between the same teams or players
see burn verb
► rub·ber adjective [ usually before noun ]:
a rubber ball
noun senses 1 to 3 and adjective mid 16th cent.: from the verb rub + -er . 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 cent. The sense was subsequently (mid 19th cent.) generalized to refer to the substance in any form or use, at first often differentiated as India rubber .
noun sense 4 late 16th cent.: of unknown origin; early use was as a term in bowls.