Last modified on 30 July 2014, at 11:48



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



graft (countable and uncountable, plural grafts)

  1. (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.
  2. (countable) A branch or portion of a tree growing from such a shoot.
  3. (surgery, countable) A portion of living tissue used in the operation of autoplasty.
  4. (uncountable, colloquial) Effort needed for doing hard work.
  5. (uncountable, slang) A criminal's special branch of practice
  6. (uncountable) Illicit profit by corrupt means, especially in public life.
  7. (uncountable) Corruption in official life.
  8. (countable) A con job.
  9. (countable, slang) A cut of the take (money).
  10. (uncountable, US, politics) A bribe, especially on an ongoing basis.


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graft (third-person singular simple present grafts, present participle grafting, simple past and past participle grafted)

  1. (transitive) 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.
  2. (transitive, surgery) To implant a portion of (living flesh or akin) in a lesion so as to form an organic union.
  3. (transitive) To join (one thing) to another as if by grafting, so as to bring about a close union.
    1717 Eloisa to Abelard. And graft my love immortal on thy fame! — Alexander Pope
  4. (transitive, nautical) To cover, as a ring bolt, block strap, splicing, etc., with a weaving of small cord or rope-yarns.
  5. (intransitive) To insert scions (grafts) from one tree, or kind of tree, etc., into another; to practice grafting.