Green’s Dictionary of Slang

grub n.1

[SE grub, the larva of an insect]

1. ‘a person of slovenly attire and unpleasant manners’ (OED).

[UK]Rabelais Author’s Prologue (trans.) Gargantua and Pantagruel I 6: So saith a Turlupin or a new start-up grub of my books, but a turd for him.
[UK]J. Lacey Sauny the Scot IV i: ’Tis the Old Grub Woodall; What shall we do with him?
[UK]Cooke in Foote Maid of Bath Married A2: Reducing the Maid of Bath to the Dilemma of either chusing a Husband out of an old Hunks or Grub, a Debauchee [...] and a mechanical Prig.
[US]S. Lewis Kingsblood Royal (2001) 244: ‘How are you, Captain – Neil?’ the grub hesitated.
[US]Baker et al. CUSS 131: Grub An obnoxious person.
[Aus]J. Alard He who Shoots Last 24: This grub ratted on the kid; in my book he’s dead.
[Aus]J. McNeil How Does Your Garden Grow Act III: sam: How do I look? mick: Shithouse. Yer a grub.
[Ire]J. O’Connor Secret World of the Irish Male (1995) 53: You stupid foul-mouthed grub.
[Aus]G. Gilmore Class Act [ebook] ‘How dare you, you grub’.

2. a dirty, unkempt person, esp. a child, also attrib.

[UK]Smollett Roderick Random (1979) 171: Right (said the captain to this miserable grub, who had been an attorney’s boy) you shall have law enough.
[UK]T. Hood Comic Annual 131: The Cook’s a hasher nothing more. The Children noisy grubs. A Wife’s a quiz and home’s a bore .
[UK]S. Watson Wops the Waif 10/1: It’s lucky that little grub kept her eyes open.
G. du Maurier Martian 390: There were the grubs of Grub Street [...] He did not like to meet them at any Club he belonged to – it was not likely. Clubs have a way of blackballing grubs – especially grubs that are out of the common grubby.
[US] in Current Sl. (1967) I:4 4/2: Grub. n. An untidy person.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett Boys from Binjiwunyawunya 239: He was one of the greatest grubs Les had ever seen. He wore filthy white jeans, an equally filthy Breaker Morant sweat-shirt [etc.].
[Aus]Tupper & Wortley Aus. Prison Sl. Gloss. [Internet] Grub. A general term of denigration.
[Aus]C. Hammer Silver [ebook] ‘Another grub journo?’ McGrath spits.

3. (Aus.) tuberculosis.

[Aus]‘No. 35’ Argot in G. Simes DAUS (1993).

4. (US teen) one who fails to achieve the popular social norms.

[US]Baltimore Sun (MD) Sun. Mag. 4 Dec. 9/1: [A]lthough she pounded some ground at most of the blasts with Bugsy, the kook always blew the pad with a grub.

5. (US campus) a student kitchen worker.

[US]Current Sl. I:2 3/2: Grub, n. Student kitchen help.