Last modified on 23 May 2014, at 23:05

against the grain

EnglishEdit

EtymologyEdit

EB1911 - Volume 01 - Page 001 - 1.svg This entry lacks etymological information. If you are familiar with the origin of this term, please add it to the page as described here.

PronunciationEdit

  • IPA(key): /əˈɡɛnst ðə ɡreɪn/

Prepositional phraseEdit

against the grain

  1. (woodworking, of sanding or planing a piece of wood) Preventing a smooth, level surface from being formed by raising the nap of the wood or causing larger splinters to form ahead of the cutting tool below the cutting surface.
  2. (idiomatic) Contrary to what is expected; especially, of behavior different from what society expects.
    By going against the grain and going to work nude, you've made yourself a laughing stock.
  3. (idiomatic) Unwillingly, reluctantly; contrary to one's nature.
    It went much against the grain with him
    • 1608, William Shakespeare, Coriolanus
      Say, you chose him / More after our commandment than as guided / By your own true affections, and that your minds, / Preoccupied with what you rather must do / Than what you should, made you against the grain / To voice him consul: lay the fault on us.

Usage notesEdit

  • The expression allows possessive pronouns and certain determiners to replace the and grain to be plural.

TranslationsEdit

See alsoEdit