- the fibers or yarn in a piece of fabric as differentiated from the fabric itself.
- the direction of threads in a woven fabric in relation to the selvage.
verb (used with object)
- to remove the hair from (skins).
- to soften and raise the grain of (leather).
Origin of grain
Synonyms for grain
- the general direction or arrangement of the fibrous elements in paper or woodto saw across the grain
- the pattern or texture of wood resulting from such an arrangementthe attractive grain of the table
- the granular texture of a rock, mineral, etc
- the appearance of a rock, mineral, etc, determined by the size and arrangement of its constituents
- the outer (hair-side) layer of a hide or skin from which the hair or wool has been removed
- the pattern on the outer surface of such a hide or skin
verb (mainly tr)
- to remove the hair or wool from (a hide or skin) before tanning
- to raise the grain pattern on (leather)
Word Origin for grain
early 13c., "scarlet dye made from insects" (late 12c. in surnames), from Old French grain (12c.) "seed, grain, particle, berry, scarlet dye" (see kermes for last sense), from Latin granum "seed, a grain, small kernel" (see corn (n.1)).
As a collective singular meaning "seed of wheat and allied grasses used as food," it is attested from early 14c. Extended from c.1300 to other objects (e.g. salt, sand). As a unit of weight, from 1540s. Used of wood (1560s), from the arrangement of fibers, which resemble seeds. Hence, against the grain (1650), a metaphor from carpentry: cutting across the fibers of the wood is more difficult than cutting along them.
against the grain
Opposed to one's inclination or preference, as in We followed the new supervisor's advice, though it went against the grain. This metaphor refers to the natural direction of the fibers in a piece of wood, called its grain; when sawed obliquely, or “against the grain,” the wood will tend to splinter. [c. 1600] For a synonym, see rub the wrong way.
see against the grain; with a grain of salt.