Burn Rubber (to)

Meaning of Idiom ‘Burn Rubber’

To burn rubber is to drive a vehicle very fast.

Examples Of Use

“Your appointment starts in fifteen minutes. You’d better burn rubber if you want to get there on time.”

“The youth was arrested today after burning rubber all over town — in stolen cars!”

“I burned rubber to get to the hospital in time to see my son being born.”

Origin

This idiom alludes to rubber tires spinning so quickly that a burnout occurs, in which the vehicle stays stationary but the tires spin on the pavement, causing friction which heats up the rubber and produces smoke. Since a driver who does a burnout can be expected to drive very fast, it is natural that the expression to burn rubbershould be used mean “putting the pedal to the metal.” As an idiom, it has been used since the mid-1900’s.

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