I encountered this expression in the book Sea Glass by Anita Shreve and can't figure out what it means. (Actually, I have a few ideas but want to know the correct meaning.)

"I'll hardly have time for a rubber before we land."

A woman is talking about her upcoming trip on a luxury plane, a cabin with six rooms. The time is 1929. Thank you for your help.

  • 3
    Providing she isn't travelling alone, I would assume she refers to a card game. – oerkelens Feb 1 '15 at 0:45
  • I would assume a card game. – Hot Licks Feb 1 '15 at 1:43

You haven't indicated which expression you're referring to, but the only part of the sentence that seems potentially obscure is the noun rubber, so I'll assume that that's what you're asking about.

The relevant sense of rubber seems to be (quoting from the English Wiktionary entry):

[…] a match consisting of the best of a series of three games in bridge or whist.

(The speaker is continuing the thought from the end of her previous sentence: "the club chairs pivot so you can play cards".)


Chambers Dictionary defines a rubber as follows; In the card games of Bridge and Whist a rubber is the winning of, or play for, the best of three games (sometimes five). The word can also be generally used for any spell of card playing or for a series of games in various sports such as cricket, tennis or bowls.

John L.

  • 1
    Cricket, tennis and bowls would all require some ingenuity to play on board a plane. – Erik Kowal Feb 1 '15 at 1:28
  • @Erik But now that you mention it ... – andy256 Feb 1 '15 at 2:18

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