What does the word 'scrub' mean?

I have seen friends use it in chat and people use it in public games, but I am still confused about the meaning of it, and the uses.

  • 6
    According to TLC, "A scrub is a guy that can't get no love from me". Seems about right.
    – Bob2Chiv
    Oct 27, 2014 at 12:54
  • This question appears to be off-topic because it is not about a gaming exclusive term and would be better suited in an English Language Stack.
    – user28015
    Oct 28, 2014 at 2:55
  • I dunno; scrub seems to be a pretty specifically gamer term. I haven't heard it used in this context in any other setting.
    – Frank
    Oct 28, 2014 at 3:16
  • In wrestling, it means a sucky wrestler who scrubs the floor with their back and get pinned (lose immediately).
    – Neffer_23
    Apr 11, 2015 at 3:01
  • @Neffer_23 Thank you for another intresting fact. Take a look at a comment below. (About marines).
    – user271360
    Apr 12, 2015 at 22:38

4 Answers 4


A scrub is a synonym for a bad player rather than a noob/newb (whom is not always a bad player.)

The word is most commonly used by arrogant/aggressive players.

The uses:

  • Be arrogant
  • Think you are better than the rest
  • Rage
  • Contribute to the toxic part of the community
  • Become troll food because you show a ragey nature
  • Or more positive: use it as an obvious joke (hard to do)

For most of the "scrub"users it is the exact opposite of "hacker" (arrogance)

There's not much good about the word so try and refrain from using it.

  • "The word is most commonly used by arrogant players (aggressive)." Of course, they're just as likely to call you a "n00b." And yes, I'm spelling it with two zeroes because of how condescending they say it.
    – Powerlord
    Oct 27, 2014 at 14:39
  • Daily business online. Naap, n00b, nub. Sometimes I wonder if they know how to spell it. Standard "noob"/noob can at least be used with a neutral meaning
    – meru
    Oct 27, 2014 at 14:48

A scrub has two main traits:

  1. They aren't very good at the game (Or, at least, no better than mid-level)
  2. They think you're playing it wrong, and are annoyingly vocal about it

Playing the game wrong is whatever the scrub doesn't like: abusing bugs, playing with overpowered characters/races/traits/strategies, not being "fair", or whatever. In real-time strategy games, he insists on No Rush and ragequits if you rush him. In first-person shooter games, he is adamant that sniping is wrongbadfun. It's one thing to say "hey guys, this game is more fun if we leave off the cheesy strategies," but the scrub mandates that all games must use His Chosen Rules Of Fairness, regardless of whether he's playing with his friends at home or a random pick-up game on the 'net.

Of course, since this is an insult, the term "scrub" isn't used with the greatest precision. There's some overlap with "noob", since some noobs complain about cheesiness when they lose.

He occasionally overlaps with Stop Having Fun Guy, who demands that all games are Serious Business, and thus Fun is not the goal.


A scrub is a player who has played a game "a lot" but does not improve. Usually because he

  • does not take the game seriously (even though he invests a lot of time in it)
  • does not want to learn the basics
  • repeats the same mistakes over and over again

A good example for a scrub back in the days was a Warcraft 3 player that only played "Custom Games". Technically he is not a noob, but he is worse than average considering the time he invested in the game.

While Merujsx points out the negative meaning of the word there is no better word to explain the situation of a player that "plays a lot but does not get better at a game". Then again it does not benefit anyone to point this out in front of everybody.

  • Well, for people who play custom games only, wouldn't casual player fit?
    – Schism
    Oct 28, 2014 at 4:43

A scrub is a now generalized term used as a synonym for a "noob" or "newb," which is someone who is bad at a video game or activity in general. - Urban Dictionary

  • 1
    -1 for citing Urban Dictionary. Oct 27, 2014 at 12:12
  • 2
    Actually, "newb" is short for "newbie", which is used to describe people who are new at a particular game. "Noob" is just another (intentionally wrong) way to write "newb". Everybody starts a game as a noob.
    – Nolonar
    Oct 27, 2014 at 14:08
  • 5
    And all these term originated with "nub" (Non Useful Body), which is a term used on Navy submarines to refer to a new sailor.
    – SaintWacko
    Oct 27, 2014 at 14:46
  • Cool fact @SaintWacko didn't know that. (But kinda unrelated). +1
    – user271360
    Oct 27, 2014 at 23:44

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