American Dictionary of the English Language

Dictionary Search


GRAIN, noun [Latin granum.]

1. Any small hard mass; as a grain of sand or gravel. Hence,

2. A single seed or hard seed of a plant, particularly of those kinds whose seeds are used for food of man or beast. This is usually inclosed in a proper shell or covered with a husk, and contains the embryo of a new plant. Hence,

3. grain without a definitive, signifies corn in general, or the fruit of certain plants which constitutes the chief food of man and beast, as wheat, rye, barley, oats and maiz.

4. A minute particle.

5. A small weight, or the smallest weight ordinarily used, being the twentieth part of the scruple in apothecaries' weight, and the twenty fourth of a pennyweight troy.

6. A component part of stones and metals.

7. The veins or fibers of wood or other fibrous substance; whence, cross-grained, and against the grain

8. The body or substance of wood as modified by the fibers.

Hard box, and linden of a softer grain

9. The body or substance of a thing considered with respect to the size, form or direction of the constituent particles; as stones of a fine grain

The tooth of a sea-horse, contains a curdled grain

10. Any thing proverbially small; a very small particle or portion; as a grain of wit or of common sense.

Neglect not to make use of any grain of grace.

11. Dyed or stained substance.

All in a robe of darkest grain

12. The direction of the fibers of wood or other fibrous substance; hence the phrase, against the grain applied to animals, that is, against their natural tempers.

13. The heart or temper; as brothers not united in grain

14. The form of the surface of any thing with respect to smoothness or roughness; state of the grit of any body composed of grains; as sandstone of a fine grain

15. A tine, prong or spike.

A grain of allowance, a small allowance or indulgence; a small portion to be remitted; something above or below just weight.

To dye in grain is to dye in the raw material, as wool or silk before it is manufactured.

GRAIN, verb intransitive To yield fruit.

GRAIN, or GRANE, for groan. [Not in use.]