from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A small, dry, one-seeded fruit of a cereal grass, having the fruit and the seed walls united.
  • noun The fruits of cereal grasses especially after having been harvested, considered as a group.
  • noun A cereal grass.
  • noun Cereal grasses considered as a group.
  • noun A relatively small discrete particulate or crystalline mass.
  • noun A small amount or the smallest amount possible.
  • noun Aerospace A mass of solid propellant.
  • noun A unit of weight in the US Customary System, an avoirdupois unit equal to 0.002285 ounce (0.065 gram).
  • noun The arrangement, direction, or pattern of the fibrous tissue in wood.
  • noun The side of a hide or piece of leather from which the hair or fur has been removed.
  • noun The pattern or markings on this side of leather.
  • noun The pattern produced, as in stone, by the arrangement of particulate constituents.
  • noun The relative size of the particles composing a substance or pattern.
  • noun A painted, stamped, or printed design that imitates the pattern found in wood, leather, or stone.
  • noun The direction or texture of fibers in a woven fabric.
  • noun A state of fine crystallization.
  • noun Basic temperament or nature; disposition.
  • noun An essential quality or characteristic.
  • noun Archaic Color; tint.
  • intransitive verb To cause to form into grains; granulate.
  • intransitive verb To paint, stamp, or print with a design imitating the grain of wood, leather, or stone.
  • intransitive verb To give a granular or rough texture to.
  • intransitive verb To remove the hair or fur from (hides) in preparation for tanning.
  • intransitive verb To form grains.
  • idiom (against the grain) Contrary to custom, one's inclination, or good sense.
  • idiom (with a grain of salt) With reservations; skeptically.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To bring forth grain; yield fruit.
  • To form grains or assume a granular form; crystallize into grains, as sugar.
  • To produce, as from a seed.
  • In brewing, to free from grain; separate the grain from, as wort.
  • To form into grains, as powder, sugar, and the like.
  • To paint, etc., so as to give the appearance of grain or fibers of wood.
  • In tanning, to take the hair off of; soften and raise the grain of: as, to grain skins or leather.
  • To dye in grain.
  • noun A dialectal (Scotch) form of groan.
  • To scrape, as with a slicker, on the grain side.
  • noun In the tobacco industry, a deposit of calcium oxalate, in scattered globules, often at the base of the hairs, formed upon tobacco-leaves in the process of curing and sweating.
  • noun The English name for the copper coin called grano at Malta.
  • noun A tine, prong, or spike. See grain-staff, 1.
  • noun The fork of a tree or of a stick.
  • noun The groin.
  • noun A piece of sheet-metal used in a mold to hold in position an additional part, as a core. Also called chapelet and gagger.
  • noun plural An iron instrument with four or more barbed points, and a line attached to it, used at sea for striking and taking fish.
  • noun plural A place at which two streams unite; the fork of a river.
  • noun A small hard, seed; specifically, a seed of one of the cereal plants, wheat, rye, oats, barley, maize, or millet; a corn.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French grain, from Latin grānum ("seed"), from Proto-Indo-European *ǵr̥h₂nóm (“grain”). Compare English corn.


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