grain /ɡreɪn/ BrE AmE noun
[ Date: 1200-1300 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: Latin granum 'seed' ]
1 . FOOD
a) [uncountable] the seeds of crops such as corn, wheat, or rice that are gathered for use as food, or these crops themselves:
big sacks of grain
Last year’s grain harvest was the biggest ever.
b) [countable] a single seed of corn, wheat etc:
grains of rice
2 . LINES IN WOOD ETC [singular] the natural lines you can see in a substance such as wood, which are the result of its structure
along the grain (=in the same direction as the grain)
Cut along the grain of the wood.
across the grain (=at 90 degrees to the grain)
3 . SMALL PIECE [countable] a single very small piece of a substance such as sand or salt
a grain of sand
There were crumbs and grains of sugar on the table.
4 . a grain of something a very small amount of something:
The story wouldn’t have fooled anyone with a grain of sense.
There is a grain of truth in all folklore and legend.
5 . against the grain if something goes against the grain, it is not what you would naturally or normally do:
Mary is always honest and it went against the grain to tell lies.
6 . MEASURE [countable] the smallest unit for measuring weight, equal to about 0.06 grams. It is used for weighing medicines.
⇨ take something with a pinch/grain of salt at ↑ salt 1 (3)