adjective, grain·i·er, grain·i·est.

resembling grain; granular.
full of grains or grain.
having a natural or simulated grain, as wood, wallpaper, etc.
Photography. (of a negative or positive) having a granular appearance.

Origin of grainy

First recorded in 1605–15; grain + -y1
Related formsgrain·i·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for graininess

Historical Examples of graininess

  • Graininess may be caused by too much acid or too much moisture in the cheese.

    The Book of Cheese

    Charles Thom and Walter Warner Fisk

  • Have you ever sat close to the screen in a motion picture theatre, so that the graininess of the moving film was visible?

    The Infra-Medians

    Sewell Peaslee Wright

  • The cat Bartouki took such pains to develop was of a plastic that does not have the graininess of concrete.

    The Egyptian Cat Mystery

    Harold Leland Goodwin

British Dictionary definitions for graininess


adjective grainier or grainiest

resembling, full of, or composed of grain; granular
resembling the grain of wood, leather, etc
photog having poor definition because of large grain size
Derived Formsgraininess, noun
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 graininess



1610s, from grain + -y (2). In Middle English, grain also was used as an adjective, "like grain, lumpy, spotted" (early 15c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper