against the grain


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grain

 (grān)
n.
1.
a. A small, dry, one-seeded fruit of a cereal grass, having the fruit and the seed walls united: a single grain of wheat; gleaned the grains from the ground one at a time. Also called caryopsis.
b. The fruits of cereal grasses especially after having been harvested, considered as a group: The grain was stored in a silo.
2.
a. A cereal grass: Wheat is a grain grown in Kansas.
b. Cereal grasses considered as a group: Grain is grown along the river.
3.
a. A relatively small discrete particulate or crystalline mass: a grain of sand.
b. A small amount or the smallest amount possible: hasn't a grain of sense.
4. Aerospace A mass of solid propellant.
5. Abbr. gr. A unit of weight in the US Customary System, an avoirdupois unit equal to 0.002285 ounce (0.065 gram).
6.
a. The markings, pattern, or texture of the fibrous tissue in wood: Cherry wood has a fine grain.
b. The direction of such markings: cut a board with the grain.
7.
a. The side of a hide or piece of leather from which the hair or fur has been removed.
b. The pattern or markings on this side of leather.
8. The pattern produced, as in stone, by the arrangement of particulate constituents.
9. The relative size of the particles composing a substance or pattern: a coarse grain.
10. A painted, stamped, or printed design that imitates the pattern found in wood, leather, or stone.
11. The direction or texture of fibers in a woven fabric.
12. A state of fine crystallization.
13.
a. Basic temperament or nature; disposition: It goes against my grain to ask for help.
b. An essential quality or characteristic: "Toughness as a virtue ... is, needless to say, fully embedded in the American grain" (Benjamin DeMott).
14. Archaic Color; tint.
v. grained, grain·ing, grains
v.tr.
1. To cause to form into grains; granulate.
2. To paint, stamp, or print with a design imitating the grain of wood, leather, or stone.
3. To give a granular or rough texture to.
4. To remove the hair or fur from (hides) in preparation for tanning.
v.intr.
To form grains: The corn began to grain.
Idioms:
against the grain
Contrary to custom, one's inclination, or good sense.
with a grain of salt
With reservations; skeptically: Take that advice with a grain of salt.

[Middle English, from Old French graine, from Latin grānum; see gr̥ə-no- in Indo-European roots.]

grain′er n.
References in classic literature ?
It was not because I had a strong sense of the virtue of industry, but because Joe had a strong sense of the virtue of industry, that I worked with tolerable zeal against the grain.
Changeable is she, and wayward; often have I seen her bite her lip, and pass the comb against the grain of her hair.
It has gone very much against the grain, I can assure you, to have neglected you for so long a time.
I ought to be satisfied to please Grandfather, and I do try, but it's working against the grain, you see, and comes hard.
From all you have told me, dear brethren, make out clearly that though they have punished you for your faults, the punishments you are about to endure do not give you much pleasure, and that you go to them very much against the grain and against your will, and that perhaps this one's want of courage under torture, that one's want of money, the other's want of advocacy, and lastly the perverted judgment of the judge may have been the cause of your ruin and of your failure to obtain the justice you had on your side.
The prince, who had a great repugnance to treat with such an ill-bred fellow, made out a list, against the grain, and sent it.
At the last moment he appeared to change his mind, and I sailed alone as many days as possible in advance of the ship, as had been intended from the first; but it went sorely against the grain when the time came.
Which again, naturally, rubs against the grain of Mr.
But just the same it goes against the grain to be walked off my legs by a poet--by a poet, mind you.
It went against the grain with me, after what had passed between us, to show him that I felt any sort of interest in his proceedings.
Tim Keenan stepped in and bent over Cherokee, fondling him on both sides of the shoulders with hands that rubbed against the grain of the hair and that made slight, pushing-forward movements.
Healthy cheerfulness and good spirits forming a part of the banquet, I could soak my crusts in the fountain with Le Sage's strolling player, and revel in their glad enjoyment: but sitting down with so many fellow-animals to ward off thirst and hunger as a business; to empty, each creature, his Yahoo's trough as quickly as he can, and then slink sullenly away; to have these social sacraments stripped of everything but the mere greedy satisfaction of the natural cravings; goes so against the grain with me, that I seriously believe the recollection of these funeral feasts will be a waking nightmare to me all my life.