View synonyms for grain


[ greyn ]


  1. a small, hard seed, especially the seed of a food plant such as wheat, corn, rye, oats, rice, or millet.
  2. the gathered seed of food plants, especially of cereal plants.
  3. such plants collectively.
  4. any small, hard particle, as of sand, gold, pepper, or gunpowder.
  5. the smallest unit of weight in most systems, originally determined by the weight of a plump grain of wheat. In the U.S. and British systems, as in avoirdupois, troy, and apothecaries' weights, the grain is identical. In an avoirdupois ounce there are 437.5 grains; in the troy and apothecaries' ounces there are 480 grains (one grain equals 0.0648 gram).
  6. the smallest possible amount of anything:

    a grain of truth.

    Synonyms: tittle, whit, iota, jot, trace, speck, bit

  7. the arrangement or direction of fibers in wood, or the pattern resulting from this.
  8. the direction in which the fibers of a piece of dressed wood, as a board, rise to the surface:

    You should work with or across the grain, but never against.

  9. the side of leather from which the hair has been removed.
  10. a stamped pattern that imitates the natural grain of leather: used either on leather to simulate a different type of natural leather, or on coated cloth.
  11. Textiles.
    1. the fibers or yarn in a piece of fabric as differentiated from the fabric itself.
    2. the direction of threads in a woven fabric in relation to the selvage.
  12. the lamination or cleavage of stone, coal, etc.
  13. Metallurgy. any of the individual crystalline particles forming a metal.
  14. Jewelry. a unit of weight equal to 50 milligrams or ¼ carat, used for pearls and sometimes for diamonds.
  15. the size of constituent particles of any substance; texture:

    sugar of fine grain.

  16. a granular texture or appearance:

    a stone of coarse grain.

  17. a state of crystallization:

    boiled to the grain.

  18. temper or natural character:

    two brothers of similar grain.

  19. Rocketry. a unit of solid propellant.
  20. Obsolete. color or hue.

verb (used with object)

  1. to form into grains; granulate.
  2. to give a granular appearance to.
  3. to paint in imitation of the grain of wood, stone, etc.:

    metal doors grained to resemble oak.

  4. to feed grain to (an animal).
  5. Tanning.
    1. to remove the hair from (skins).
    2. to soften and raise the grain of (leather).


/ ɡreɪn /


  1. the small hard seedlike fruit of a grass, esp a cereal plant
  2. a mass of such fruits, esp when gathered for food
  3. the plants, collectively, from which such fruits are harvested
  4. a small hard particle

    a grain of sand

    1. the general direction or arrangement of the fibrous elements in paper or wood

      to saw across the grain

    2. the pattern or texture of wood resulting from such an arrangement

      the attractive grain of the table

  5. the relative size of the particles of a substance

    sugar of fine grain

    1. the granular texture of a rock, mineral, etc
    2. the appearance of a rock, mineral, etc, determined by the size and arrangement of its constituents
    1. the outer (hair-side) layer of a hide or skin from which the hair or wool has been removed
    2. the pattern on the outer surface of such a hide or skin
  6. a surface artificially imitating the grain of wood, leather, stone, etc; graining
  7. the smallest unit of weight in the avoirdupois, Troy, and apothecaries' systems, based on the average weight of a grain of wheat: in the avoirdupois system it equals 1 7000 of a pound, and in the Troy and apothecaries' systems it equals 1 5760 of a pound. 1 grain is equal to 0.0648 gram gr
  8. Also calledmetric grain a metric unit of weight used for pearls or diamonds, equal to 50 milligrams or one quarter of a carat
  9. the threads or direction of threads in a woven fabric
  10. photog any of a large number of particles in a photographic emulsion, the size of which limit the extent to which an image can be enlarged without serious loss of definition
  11. television a granular effect in a television picture caused by electrical noise
  12. cleavage lines in crystalline material, parallel to growth planes
  13. chem any of a large number of small crystals forming a polycrystalline solid, each having a regular array of atoms that differs in orientation from that of the surrounding crystallites
  14. a state of crystallization

    to boil syrup to the grain

  15. a very small amount

    a grain of truth

  16. natural disposition, inclination, or character (esp in the phrase go against the grain )
  17. astronautics a homogenous mass of solid propellant in a form designed to give the required combustion characteristics for a particular rocket
  18. not in technical usage kermes or a red dye made from this insect
  19. dyeing an obsolete word for colour
  20. with a grain of salt or with a pinch of salt
    without wholly believing: sceptically


  1. also intr to form grains or cause to form into grains; granulate; crystallize
  2. to give a granular or roughened appearance or texture to
  3. to paint, stain, etc, in imitation of the grain of wood or leather
    1. to remove the hair or wool from (a hide or skin) before tanning
    2. to raise the grain pattern on (leather)


/ grān /

  1. A small particle of something, such as salt, pollen, or sand.
  2. A unit of weight in the US Customary System, equal to 2 1000 of an ounce (0.07 gram).
  3. See Table at measurement

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Derived Forms

  • ˈgrainer, noun
  • ˈgrainless, adjective

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Other Words From

  • grainer noun
  • grainless adjective
  • multi·grain noun adjective
  • non·grain noun
  • super·grain noun
  • under·graining noun

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Word History and Origins

Origin of grain1

1250–1300; Middle English grain, grein < Old French grain < Latin grānum seed, grain; corn 1

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Word History and Origins

Origin of grain1

C13: from Old French, from Latin grānum

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. against the / one's grain, in opposition to one's temper, inclination, or character:

    Haggling always went against her grain.

  2. with a grain of salt. salt 1( def 24 ).

More idioms and phrases containing grain

see against the grain ; with a grain of salt .

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Example Sentences

This vast country with enormous agricultural resources having to turn to its archenemy for grain.

A mid-June survey from Meijer’s campaign found him ahead of Afendoulis by 24 points, 41 percent to 17 percent, although we should take internal polls with a grain of salt.

Scary radiation effects seen in lab animals or cell cultures should be taken with a grain of salt.

County officials told NBC 7 San Diego to take the increases with a grain of salt.

This allowed the vehicle to trundle up hills of loose grains.

Spanish oak, which has an open grain and high levels of tannin, gives you dried fruit, spice, and even chocolate flavors.

Stalin, now one of the top men in the party, was sent there by Lenin to ensure that grain was getting shipped to Moscow.

Feast your eyes on the ‘top-grain leather,’ ‘original’ design, gilded pages.

I am holding in my hand a book, bound in black “genuine top-grain” leather.

Against the Grain By Michael Specter, The New Yorker Should you go gluten-free?

And I have not had the first morsel of food prepared from this grain offered me since I reached the shores of Europe.

Even if poverty were gone, the flail could still beat hard enough upon the grain and chaff of humanity.

The small grain crops had been burned to a crisp, and disaster hung over the land.

The delicious soft rains set in early, promising a good grain year.

It laid its hold upon agriculture, sowing and reaping the grain and transporting it to the ends of the earth.


Related Words

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.




Grail, Holygrain alcohol