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“Scrub”, or “skrub”, is an Internet slang term commonly used as a pejorative for someone who needlessly complains about unfair tactics used in multiplayer video games. The term is associated with players who lack the skill to overcome certain strategies, bearing many similarities to “noob”.
According to an article on the Internet humor site Cracked, “scrub” originated as a term for bad basketball players in the late 1990s. In January 1999, the R&B group TLC released the track “No Scrubs” as the first single off their third studio album FanMail. The song derides men who cannot afford their own residence and transportation, referring to them as “scrubs” (shown below).
In October 2008, the gaming site Sirlin published an article titled “Intermediate’s Guide,” which contained a section on “scrubs” defining them as players who are “handicapped by self-imposed rules that the game knows nothing about.”
On June 10th, 2008, the gaming blog Insomnia published an article about tactics used in the Street Fighter fighting game series considered unfair or “cheap,” referring to those who complain about them as “scrubs.” On December 29th, Urban Dictionary user Chirus_Fire submitted an entry for the term “Scrub”, defining it as someone who performs poorly in video games. The entry also cited the “scrubbing” practice of button mashing in the game Street Fighter 2 as the term’s origin in the context of gaming. On February 4, 2011, League of Legends forum user Urban Ranger submitted a thread asking why he kept being called a “scrub” in the online game. On December 16th, GameFAQs Forums member Sumo_Thug posted a thread asking for other members to define the word “scrub” in the context of fighting games, to which several users claimed it applied to those who whine about game mechanics rather than learning to overcome them. On June 25th, 2013, an entry for “Scrub” was created on TV Tropes, defining the term as a video game player who criticizes certain gaming strategies for being overpowered or unfair.
Gamefaqs – Guys how do you define a scrub? everyone in the fighting game community / 12-16-2011
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