verb (used with object)

Nearby words

  1. grahamite,
  2. graiae,
  3. graian alps,
  4. grail,
  5. grail, holy,
  6. grain alcohol,
  7. grain coast,
  8. grain elevator,
  9. grain growth,
  10. grain of paradise


    against the/one's grain, in opposition to one's temper, inclination, or character: Haggling always went against her grain.
    with a grain of salt. salt1(def 24).

Origin of grain

1250–1300; Middle English grain, grein < Old French grain < Latin grānum seed, grain; see corn1

Related forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for grain

British Dictionary definitions for grain



the small hard seedlike fruit of a grass, esp a cereal plant
a mass of such fruits, esp when gathered for food
the plants, collectively, from which such fruits are harvested
a small hard particlea grain of sand
  1. the general direction or arrangement of the fibrous elements in paper or woodto saw across the grain
  2. the pattern or texture of wood resulting from such an arrangementthe attractive grain of the table
the relative size of the particles of a substancesugar 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
a surface artificially imitating the grain of wood, leather, stone, etc; graining
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 gramAbbreviation: gr
Also called: metric grain a metric unit of weight used for pearls or diamonds, equal to 50 milligrams or one quarter of a carat
the threads or direction of threads in a woven fabric
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
television a granular effect in a television picture caused by electrical noise
cleavage lines in crystalline material, parallel to growth planes
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
a state of crystallizationto boil syrup to the grain
a very small amounta grain of truth
natural disposition, inclination, or character (esp in the phrase go against the grain)
astronautics a homogenous mass of solid propellant in a form designed to give the required combustion characteristics for a particular rocket
(not in technical usage) kermes or a red dye made from this insect
dyeing an obsolete word for colour
with a grain of salt or with a pinch of salt without wholly believing: sceptically

verb (mainly tr)

(also intr) to form grains or cause to form into grains; granulate; crystallize
to give a granular or roughened appearance or texture to
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)
Derived Formsgrainer, noungrainless, adjective

Word Origin for grain

C13: from Old French, from Latin grānum

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 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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for grain




A small, dry, one-seeded fruit of a cereal grass, having the fruit and the seed walls united.
The fruits of cereal grasses especially after having been harvested, considered as a group.
A relatively small discrete particulate or crystalline mass.
A unit of weight in the US Customary System, an avoirdupois unit equal to 0.002286 ounce (0.065 gram).

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for grain



See caryopsis.
A small particle of something, such as salt, pollen, or sand.
A unit of weight in the US Customary System, equal to 21000 of an ounce (0.07 gram). See Table at measurement.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with grain


see against the grain; with a grain of salt.

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