- a small, hard seed, especially the seed of a food plant such as wheat, corn, rye, oats, rice, or millet.
- the gathered seed of food plants, especially of cereal plants.
- such plants collectively.
- any small, hard particle, as of sand, gold, pepper, or gunpowder.
- 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).
- the smallest possible amount of anything: a grain of truth.
- the arrangement or direction of fibers in wood, or the pattern resulting from this.
- 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.
- the side of leather from which the hair has been removed.
- 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.
- 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.
- the lamination or cleavage of stone, coal, etc.
- Metallurgy. any of the individual crystalline particles forming a metal.
- Jewelry. a unit of weight equal to 50 milligrams or ¼ carat, used for pearls and sometimes for diamonds.
- the size of constituent particles of any substance; texture: sugar of fine grain.
- a granular texture or appearance: a stone of coarse grain.
- a state of crystallization: boiled to the grain.
- temper or natural character: two brothers of similar grain.
- Rocketry. a unit of solid propellant.
- Obsolete. color or hue.
- to form into grains; granulate.
- to give a granular appearance to.
- to paint in imitation of the grain of wood, stone, etc.: metal doors grained to resemble oak.
- to feed grain to (an animal).
- to remove the hair from (skins).
- to soften and raise the grain of (leather).
- 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
SynonymsSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Related Wordscereal, corn, fiber, kernel, mote, morsel, whit, spark, speck, pellet, scrap, modicum, tittle, iota, jot, trace, fragment, scintilla, molecule, atom
Examples from the Web for grain
Stalin, now one of the top men in the party, was sent there by Lenin to ensure that grain was getting shipped to Moscow.Kotkin Biography Reveals Stalin's Evil Pragmatism
November 30, 2014
Against the Grain By Michael Specter, The New Yorker Should you go gluten-free?The Daily Beast’s Best Longreads, Oct 27-Nov 2, 2014
November 2, 2014
With this tool, Death is illustrated in many a 15th-century woodcut mowing down souls as if they were grain.Ebola Rages in West Africa, Reigniting Humanity’s Oldest Fear: The Plague
August 4, 2014
“Mostly vodka and grain alcohol, because that got you really drunk, really fast,” he says.Jim Norton And His Many Vices
July 25, 2014
Decent ryes take anywhere from five to 10 years to age, and there's a shortage of grain producers.Why Rye Is The Nation's Spirit, And Why No One Can Get It
July 12, 2014
As a result the grain in the Egyptian markets had greatly increased in value.Ancient Man
Hendrik Willem van Loon
The object may be as small as a grain of dust or as big as a warship; to the water it is all the same.The Conquest of Fear
When the grain is sufficiently grown it is elevated to the kilns.
He collected what he wanted grain by grain from bushels of chaff.The Leopard Woman
Stewart Edward White
She went with him to haul the grain to mill and was fascinated by the big scales.Dust
Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius
- 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
- 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 relative size of the particles of a substancesugar of fine grain
- 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
- 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
- (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
- to remove the hair or wool from (a hide or skin) before tanning
- to raise the grain pattern on (leather)
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.
- 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).
- 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.
Idioms and Phrases with grain
see against the grain; with a grain of salt.