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

  • n. 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.
  • n. The fruits of cereal grasses especially after having been harvested, considered as a group: The grain was stored in a silo.
  • n. A cereal grass: Wheat is a grain grown in Kansas.
  • n. Cereal grasses considered as a group: Grain is grown along the river.
  • n. A relatively small discrete particulate or crystalline mass: a grain of sand.
  • n. A small amount or the smallest amount possible: hasn't a grain of sense.
  • n. Aerospace A mass of solid propellant.
  • n. A unit of weight in the U.S. Customary System, an avoirdupois unit equal to 0.002285 ounce (0.065 gram). See Table at measurement.
  • n. The arrangement, direction, or pattern of the fibrous tissue in wood.
  • n. The side of a hide or piece of leather from which the hair or fur has been removed.
  • n. The pattern or markings on this side of leather.
  • n. The pattern produced, as in stone, by the arrangement of particulate constituents.
  • n. The relative size of the particles composing a substance or pattern: a coarse grain.
  • n. A painted, stamped, or printed design that imitates the pattern found in wood, leather, or stone.
  • n. The direction or texture of fibers in a woven fabric.
  • n. A state of fine crystallization.
  • n. Basic temperament or nature; disposition.
  • n. An essential quality or characteristic.
  • n. Archaic Color; tint.
  • transitive v. To cause to form into grains; granulate.
  • transitive v. To paint, stamp, or print with a design imitating the grain of wood, leather, or stone.
  • transitive v. To give a granular or rough texture to.
  • transitive v. To remove the hair or fur from (hides) in preparation for tanning.
  • intransitive v. 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: Take that advice with a grain of salt.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The harvested seeds of various grass-related food crops eg: wheat, corn, barley.
  • n. A single seed of grain.
  • n. The crops from which grain is harvested.
  • n. A linear texture of a material or surface.
  • n. A single particle of a substance.
  • n. A very small unit of weight, in England equal to 1/480 of an ounce troy, 0.0648 grams or, to be more exact, 64.79891 milligrams (0.002285714 avoirdupois ounce). A carat grain or pearl grain is 1/4 carat or 50 milligrams. The old French grain was 1/9216 livre or 53.11 milligrams, and in the mesures usuelles permitted from 1812 to 1839, with the livre redefined as 500 grams, it was 54.25 milligrams.
  • n. A former unit of gold purity, also known as carat grain, equal to 1⁄4 "carat" (karat).
  • n. A region within a material having a single crystal structure or direction.
  • n. An iron fish spear with a number of points half-barbed inwardly.
  • v. To feed grain to.
  • v. To make granular; to form into grains.
  • v. To texture a surface in imitation of the grain of a substance such as wood.
  • v. To remove the hair or fat from a skin.
  • v. To soften leather.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A single small hard seed; a kernel, especially of those plants, like wheat, whose seeds are used for food.
  • n. The fruit of certain grasses which furnish the chief food of man, as corn, wheat, rye, oats, etc., or the plants themselves; -- used collectively.
  • n. Any small, hard particle, as of sand, sugar, salt, etc.; hence, any minute portion or particle
  • n. The unit of the English system of weights; -- so called because considered equal to the average of grains taken from the middle of the ears of wheat. 7,000 grains constitute the pound avoirdupois, and 5,760 grains the pound troy. A grain is equal to .0648 gram. See Gram.
  • n. A reddish dye made from the coccus insect, or kermes; hence, a red color of any tint or hue, as crimson, scarlet, etc.; sometimes used by the poets as equivalent to Tyrian purple.
  • n. The composite particles of any substance; that arrangement of the particles of any body which determines its comparative roughness or hardness; texture.
  • n. The direction, arrangement, or appearance of the fibers in wood, or of the strata in stone, slate, etc.
  • n. The fiber which forms the substance of wood or of any fibrous material.
  • n. The hair side of a piece of leather, or the marking on that side.
  • n. The remains of grain, etc., after brewing or distillation; hence, any residuum. Also called draff.
  • n. A rounded prominence on the back of a sepal, as in the common dock. See Grained, a., 4.
  • n. Temper; natural disposition; inclination.
  • n. A sort of spice, the grain of paradise.
  • n. A branch of a tree; a stalk or stem of a plant.
  • n. A tine, prong, or fork.
  • n. One the branches of a valley or of a river.
  • n. An iron fish spear or harpoon, having four or more barbed points.
  • n. A blade of a sword, knife, etc.
  • n. A thin piece of metal, used in a mold to steady a core.
  • v. See groan
  • intransitive v. To yield fruit.
  • intransitive v. To form grains, or to assume a granular form, as the result of crystallization; to granulate.
  • transitive v. To paint in imitation of the grain of wood, marble, etc.
  • transitive v. To form (powder, sugar, etc.) into grains.
  • transitive v. To take the hair off (skins); to soften and raise the grain of (leather, etc.).

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • To scrape, as with a slicker, on the grain side.
  • n. A small hard, seed; specifically, a seed of one of the cereal plants, wheat, rye, oats, barley, maize, or millet; a corn.
  • n. Collectively, corn in general; the gathered seeds of cereal plants in mass; also, the plants themselves, whether standing or gathered: as, to grind or thresh grain; a field or a stack of grain.
  • n. The smallest unit of weight in most systems, originally determined by the weight of a plump grain of wheat.
  • n. Any small hard particle, as of sand, gunpowder, sugar, salt, etc.; hence, a minute portion of anything; the smallest amount of anything: as, he has not a grain of wit.
  • n. In botany, a grain-like prominence or tubercle, as upon the sepals of dock.
  • n. plural The husks or remains of malt after brewing, or of any grain after distillation.
  • n. The quality of a substance due to the size, character, or arrangement of its grains or particles, as its coarseness or fineness, or superficial roughness or smoothness; granular texture: as, a stone or salt of coarse grain; marble or sugar of fine grain.
  • n. Fibrous texture or constitution, especially of wood; the substance of wood as modified by the quality, arrangement, or direction of its fibers: as, boxwood has a very compact grain; wood of a gnarled grain; to plane wood with, against, or across the grain.
  • n. Hence Intimate structure or character; intrinsic or essential quality.
  • n. A spice: same as grains of paradise (which see, below).
  • n. One of the grain-like insects of the genus Coccus, as C. polonicus or C. ilicis, which yield a scarlet dye; later, especially, cochineal; the product of the Coccus cacti; kermes: so called from the granular appearance of the dried insects. See cut under cochineal. Hence — A red-colored dye; a red color of any kind pervading the texture: sometimes used as equivalent to Tyrian purple, Any fast color. See in grain, below.
  • n. The side of leather from which the hair has been removed, showing the fibrous texture.
  • n. In mining, cleat or cleavage.
  • n. plural A solution of birds' dung used in leather-manu facture to counteract the effects of lime and make the leather soft and flexible.
  • n. With the soarlet dye obtained from insects of the genus Coccus.
  • n. With any fast dye; in fast colors: as, to dye in grain.
  • n. See def. 9.
  • n. A tine, prong, or spike. See grain-staff, 1.
  • n. The fork of a tree or of a stick.
  • n. The groin.
  • n. A piece of sheet-metal used in a mold to hold in position an additional part, as a core. Also called chapelet and gagger.
  • n. plural An iron instrument with four or more barbed points, and a line attached to it, used at sea for striking and taking fish.
  • n. plural A place at which two streams unite; the fork of a river.
  • n. A dialectal (Scotch) form of groan.
  • n. 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.
  • n. The English name for the copper coin called grano at Malta.

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

  • v. paint (a surface) to make it look like stone or wood
  • n. a relatively small granular particle of a substance
  • n. the smallest possible unit of anything
  • v. thoroughly work in
  • n. foodstuff prepared from the starchy grains of cereal grasses
  • v. become granular
  • n. 1/7000 pound; equals a troy grain or 64.799 milligrams
  • n. the side of leather from which the hair has been removed
  • n. the physical composition of something (especially with respect to the size and shape of the small constituents of a substance)
  • n. the direction, texture, or pattern of fibers found in wood or leather or stone or in a woven fabric
  • v. form into grains
  • n. a cereal grass
  • n. dry seed-like fruit produced by the cereal grasses: e.g. wheat, barley, Indian corn
  • n. 1/60 dram; equals an avoirdupois grain or 64.799 milligrams
  • n. a weight unit used for pearls or diamonds: 50 mg or 1/4 carat


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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