Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To unite (a shoot or bud) with a growing plant by insertion or by placing in close contact.
  • transitive v. To join (a plant or plants) by such union.
  • transitive v. To transplant or implant (living tissue, for example) surgically into a bodily part to replace a damaged part or compensate for a defect.
  • transitive v. To join or unite closely: graft new customs onto old.
  • intransitive v. To make a graft.
  • intransitive v. To be or become joined.
  • n. A detached shoot or bud united or to be united with a growing plant.
  • n. The union or point of union of a detached shoot or bud with a growing plant by insertion or attachment.
  • n. A plant produced by such union.
  • n. 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.
  • n. The procedure of implanting or transplanting such material.
  • n. The configuration or condition resulting from such a procedure.
  • n. Unscrupulous use of one's position to derive profit or advantages; extortion.
  • n. Money or an advantage gained or yielded by unscrupulous means.
  • transitive v. To gain by or practice unscrupulous use of one's position.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. 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.
  • n. A branch or portion of a tree growing from such a shoot.
  • n. A portion of living tissue used in the operation of autoplasty.
  • n. Effort needed for doing hard work.
  • n. A criminal's special branch of practice
  • n. Illicit profit by corrupt means, especially in public life.
  • n. Corruption in official life.
  • n. A con job.
  • n. A cut of the take (money).
  • n. A bribe, especially on an ongoing basis.
  • v. 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.
  • v. To implant a portion of (living flesh or akin) in a lesion so as to form an organic union.
  • v. To join (one thing) to another as if by grafting, so as to bring about a close union.
  • v. To cover, as a ring bolt, block strap, splicing, etc., with a weaving of small cord or rope-yarns.
  • v. To insert scions (grafts) from one tree, or kind of tree, etc., into another; to practice grafting.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. 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.
  • n. A branch or portion of a tree growing from such a shoot.
  • n. A portion of living tissue used in the operation of autoplasty.
  • n. 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.
  • n. A “soft thing” or “easy thing;” a “snap.”
  • transitive v. 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 v. To implant a portion of (living flesh or akin) in a lesion so as to form an organic union.
  • transitive v. To join (one thing) to another as if by grafting, so as to bring about a close union.
  • transitive v. To cover, as a ring bolt, block strap, splicing, etc., with a weaving of small cord or rope-yarns.
  • intransitive v. To insert scions from one tree, or kind of tree, etc., into another; to practice grafting.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Same as graff, 2.
  • n. 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
  • n. Figuratively, something inserted in or incorporated with another thing to which it did not originally belong; an extraneous addition.
  • n. 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.
  • 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.
  • n. l. The depth of a spade in digging; the amount of earth turned up in one turn of the spade.
  • n. A narrow crescent-shaped spade, used in cutting drains.
  • n. Work; labor.
  • n. A job or a trade.
  • To work.
  • n. 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.
  • n. A business, process, place of concourse, or office, in or at which dishonest gain, by corruption or direct thieving, may be acquired.
  • To engage in graft; live by graft. See graft, n., and compare quotation from Farmer under graft, intransitive verb

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. (surgery) tissue or organ transplanted from a donor to a recipient; in some cases the patient can be both donor and recipient
  • v. place the organ of a donor into the body of a recipient
  • n. the act of grafting something onto something else
  • n. the practice of offering something (usually money) in order to gain an illicit advantage
  • v. cause to grow together parts from different plants

Etymologies

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.
Origin unknown.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
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. (Wiktionary)

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