Definitions

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

  • noun Deceitful or fraudulent use of one's position, especially in public office, to obtain personal profits or advantages.
  • noun Money or advantage obtained by such means.
  • intransitive verb To gain money or advantage through deceit or fraud.
  • intransitive verb To unite (a shoot or bud) with a growing plant by insertion or by placing in close contact.
  • intransitive verb To join (a plant or plants) by such union.
  • intransitive verb To transplant or implant (living tissue, for example) surgically into a bodily part to replace a damaged part or compensate for a defect.
  • intransitive verb To join or unite closely.
  • intransitive verb To make a graft.
  • intransitive verb To be or become joined.
  • noun A detached shoot or bud united or to be united with a growing plant.
  • noun The union or point of union of a detached shoot or bud with a growing plant by insertion or attachment.
  • noun A plant produced by such union.
  • noun Material, especially living tissue or an organ, surgically attached to or inserted into a bodily part to replace a damaged part or compensate for a defect.
  • noun The procedure of implanting or transplanting such material.
  • noun The configuration or condition resulting from such a procedure.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Work; labor.
  • noun A job or a trade.
  • noun Dishonest gain acquired by private or secret practices or corrupt agreement or connivance, especially in positions of trust, as by offering or accepting bribes (directly or in the veiled form of commissions, fees, gifts, or philanthropic contributions), or by promising or using, directly or indirectly, one's official influence or power to assist or protect wrongdoing, or by levying blackmail—all in a private way and often disguised so as to seem the customary and proper course of business.
  • noun A business, process, place of concourse, or office, in or at which dishonest gain, by corruption or direct thieving, may be acquired.
  • noun A small shoot or scion of a tree inserted in another tree as the stock which is to support and nourish it. The graft and stock unite and become one tree, but the graft determines the kind of fruit. See grafting
  • noun Figuratively, something inserted in or incorporated with another thing to which it did not originally belong; an extraneous addition.
  • noun Specifically In surgery, a portion of living tissue, as a minute bit of skin, cut from some part of an animal or person and implanted to grow upon some other individual or some other part of the same individual.
  • noun Same as graff, 2.
  • To insert, as a scion or graft, or a scion or graft of, into a different stock, for joint growth: as, to graft a slip from one tree into another; to graft the pear upon the quince. See grafting
  • To fix a graft or grafts upon; treat by the operation of grafting.
  • Hence To insert into or incorporate with something else; fix upon something as a basis or support: as, to graft a pagan custom upon Christian institutions.
  • In surgery, to implant for growth in a different place, as a piece of skin.
  • Nautical, to weave over with fine lines in an ornamental manner, as a block-strap, ring-bolt, etc.
  • To insert scions from one tree, or kind of tree, into another.
  • noun l. The depth of a spade in digging; the amount of earth turned up in one turn of the spade.
  • noun A narrow crescent-shaped spade, used in cutting drains.
  • To work.
  • To engage in graft; live by graft. See graft, n., and compare quotation from Farmer under graft, intransitive verb

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun colloq. Acquisition of money, position, etc., by dishonest or unjust means, as by actual theft or by taking advantage of a public office or any position of trust or employment to obtain fees, perquisites, profits on contracts, legislation, pay for work not done or service not performed, etc.; illegal or unfair practice for profit or personal advantage; also, anything thus gained.
  • noun Slang A “soft thing” or “easy thing;” a “snap.”
  • noun A small shoot or scion of a tree inserted in another tree, the stock of which is to support and nourish it. The two unite and become one tree, but the graft determines the kind of fruit.
  • noun A branch or portion of a tree growing from such a shoot.
  • noun (Surg.) A portion of living tissue used in the operation of autoplasty.
  • intransitive verb To insert scions from one tree, or kind of tree, etc., into another; to practice grafting.
  • transitive verb To insert (a graft) in a branch or stem of another tree; to propagate by insertion in another stock; also, to insert a graft upon.
  • transitive verb (Surg.) To implant a portion of (living flesh or akin) in a lesion so as to form an organic union.
  • transitive verb To join (one thing) to another as if by grafting, so as to bring about a close union.
  • transitive verb (Naut.) To cover, as a ring bolt, block strap, splicing, etc., with a weaving of small cord or rope-yarns.

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

  • noun countable A small shoot or scion of a tree inserted in another tree, the stock of which is to support and nourish it. The two unite and become one tree, but the graft determines the kind of fruit.
  • noun countable A branch or portion of a tree growing from such a shoot.
  • noun surgery, countable A portion of living tissue used in the operation of autoplasty.
  • noun uncountable, colloquial Effort needed for doing hard work.

Etymologies

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

[Origin unknown.]

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

[Middle English graften, alteration of graffen, probably from Old French grafier, from graffe, stylus, graft (from its shape), from Latin graphium, stylus; see graffito. N., Middle English grafte, alteration of graffe, from Old French.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English graffe, from Old French greffe ("stylus"), from Latin graphium ("stylus"), from Ancient Greek γραφείον, from γράφειν ("to write"); probably akin to English carve. So named from the resemblance of a scion or shoot to a pointed pencil. Compare graphic, grammar.

Examples

Comments

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  • The sense "work, esp. hard work" is first recorded as dialectal: 1853 New Zealand, 1890 Gloucestershire, 1890 Melbourne, 1891 Sheffield. It's hard to tell how to Google this, but I'd imagine it's almost invariably in the locution 'hard graft' these days.

    The sense "bribery, corruption" might be derived from this; it is first attested in 1865 and for a long time was U.S. and slang.

    August 12, 2008