[graft, grahft]
See more synonyms for graft on
  1. Horticulture.
    1. a bud, shoot, or scion of a plant inserted in a groove, slit, or the like in a stem or stock of another plant in which it continues to grow.
    2. the plant resulting from such an operation; the united stock and scion.
    3. the place where the scion is inserted.
  2. Surgery. a portion of living tissue surgically transplanted from one part of an individual to another, or from one individual to another, for its adhesion and growth.
  3. an act of grafting.
verb (used with object)
  1. to insert (a graft) into a tree or other plant; insert a scion of (one plant) into another plant.
  2. to cause (a plant) to reproduce through grafting.
  3. Surgery. to transplant (a portion of living tissue, as of skin or bone) as a graft.
  4. to attach as if by grafting: an absurdity grafted onto an otherwise coherent body of thought.
  5. Nautical. to cover (a rope) with a weaving of rope yarn.
verb (used without object)
  1. to insert scions from one plant into another.
  2. to become grafted.

Origin of graft

1350–1400; earlier graff, Middle English graffe, craffe < Old French graife, greffe, graffe < Late Latin graphium hunting knife (Latin: stylus) < Greek grapheion, derivative of gráphein to write; so called from the resemblance of the point of a (cleft) graft to a stylus
Related formsgraft·er, noun

Synonyms for graft

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[graft, grahft]
  1. the acquisition of money, gain, or advantage by dishonest, unfair, or illegal means, especially through the abuse of one's position or influence in politics, business, etc.
  2. a particular instance, method, or means of thus acquiring gain or advantage.
  3. the gain or advantage acquired.
  4. British Slang. work; labor.
verb (used with object)
  1. to obtain by graft.
verb (used without object)
  1. to practice graft.

Origin of graft

First recorded in 1855–60; perhaps special use of graft1
Related formsgraft·er, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for grafters

Historical Examples of grafters

  • They expose the grafters and help to elect the right man to office.

    Plotting in Pirate Seas

    Francis Rolt-Wheeler

  • Anyhow, you're as entitled to it as he was—or the grafters back at Police Headquarters.

    Police Your Planet

    Lester del Rey

  • Would they get office if they didn't help on the jobs of the grafters?

    The Plum Tree

    David Graham Phillips

  • Jerry-builders and grafters have yet to be discovered in Ceylon.

    East of Suez

    Frederic Courtland Penfield

  • All the political brood of grafters and hypocrites have run away with it, and with us as well.


    Jack London

British Dictionary definitions for grafters


  1. horticulture
    1. a piece of plant tissue (the scion), normally a stem, that is made to unite with an established plant (the stock), which supports and nourishes it
    2. the plant resulting from the union of scion and stock
    3. the point of union between the scion and the stock
  2. surgery a piece of tissue or an organ transplanted from a donor or from the patient's own body to an area of the body in need of the tissue
  3. the act of joining one thing to another by or as if by grafting
  1. horticulture
    1. to induce (a plant or part of a plant) to unite with another part or (of a plant or part of a plant) to unite in this way
    2. to produce (fruit, flowers, etc) by this means or (of fruit, flowers, etc) to grow by this means
  2. to transplant (tissue) or (of tissue) to be transplanted
  3. to attach or incorporate or become attached or incorporatedto graft a happy ending onto a sad tale
Derived Formsgrafter, noungrafting, noun

Word Origin for graft

C15: from Old French graffe, from Medieval Latin graphium, from Latin: stylus, from Greek grapheion, from graphein to write


  1. work (esp in the phrase hard graft)
    1. the acquisition of money, power, etc, by dishonest or unfair means, esp by taking advantage of a position of trust
    2. something gained in this way, such as profit from government business
    3. a payment made to a person profiting by such a practice
  1. (intr) to work
  2. to acquire by or practise graft
Derived Formsgrafter, noun

Word Origin for graft

C19: of uncertain origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for grafters



late 15c., from graft (n.1). Related: Grafted; grafting.



"shoot inserted into another plant," late 15c. alteration of Middle English graff (late 14c.), from Old French graife "grafting knife, carving tool, stylus," from Latin graphium "stylus," from Greek grapheion "stylus," from graphein "to write" (see -graphy). So called probably on resemblance of a stylus to the pencil-shaped shoots used in grafting. The terminal -t- in the English word is not explained. Surgical sense is from 1871.



"corruption," 1865, perhaps 1859, American English, perhaps from graft (1) via British slang sense of "one's occupation" (1853), which seems to be from the word's original sense of "digging" (see graft (n.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

grafters in Medicine


  1. To transplant or implant tissue surgically into a body part to replace a damaged part or compensate for a defect.
  1. Material, especially living tissue or an organ, surgically attached to or inserted into a body part to replace a damaged part or compensate for a defect.
  2. The procedure of implanting or transplanting such material.
  3. The configuration or condition resulting from such a procedure.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

grafters in Science


  1. A shoot or bud of one plant that is inserted into or joined to the stem, branch, or root of another plant so that the two grow together as a single plant. Grafts are used to strengthen or repair plants, create dwarf trees, produce seedless fruit, and increase fruit yields without requiring plants to mature from seeds.
  2. A piece of body tissue that is surgically removed and then transplanted or implanted to replace a damaged part or compensate for a defect. See also allograft autograft and xenograft.
  1. To join a graft to another plant.
  2. To transplant or implant a graft.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

grafters in Culture


In politics, the illegal acceptance of bribes by government officials.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.