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

  • adjective Having an irregular, transverse, or diagonal grain, as opposed to a parallel grain.
  • adjective Troublesome to deal with; contrary.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective of timber Having an irregular rather than a parallel grain.
  • adjective by extension Difficult to deal with; contrary or troublesome.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • As they took their departure the Brule chief seemed to stare particularly at me, so once they were out, and Allison was exploding in pique at what he called "their cross-grained and sullen demeanour, upon my word, like the spoiled children they are!",


  • Hugh Scott, an officer at Fort Sill and a great friend to Indians, described him as “an unlovely character, a cross-grained, mean, selfish old curmudgeon.”


  • Rather, most frequently, the cause of the popularity of cross-grained analysis of a given book is the sheer astonishing mediocrity of the material, which thereby turns it into Real Trash: so awful you (and your friends) have simply GOT to read it, just for the fun of attacking it!

    Who Cares Who Is John Galt?

  • As for the rest, if you can work mysterious and romantic heroes out of old cross-grained fishermen, why, I for one will reap some amusement by the metamorphosis.


  • Our truest feelings are always mixed and cross-grained, and your observations about the way our age tends to want to Prozac away all but happiness -- leaving something much more insipid than happiness behind -- are right on.

    The WritingYA Weblog: An Imperfectly Depressing Poem

  • Then this mother, who is kindly disposed to you, and takes such tender care of you when you are ill to make you well again, and to see that you want for nothing which may help you; and, more than all, who is perpetually pleading for blessings in your behalf and offering her vows to Heaven155 — can you say of her that she is cross-grained and harsh?


  • Only once in the room did I hear the slightest allusion to his experience in his presence, and that was by a cross-grained farm hand who was losing to him.

    Twelve Stories and a Dream, by H. G. Wells

  • You can be all jangly and cross-grained and overwhelmed but the iron just makes it all go away, and there you are fresh and smooth again.

    Secret Lives of Dresses Vol. 8 - A Dress A Day

  • You can be all jangly and cross-grained and overwhelmed but the iron just makes it all go away, and there you are fresh and smooth again.

    September 2006

  • A cross-grained trapper with murty odd oogs, awflorated ares, inquiline nase and a twithcherous mouph?

    Finnegans Wake


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.