grain

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grain of truth

A little bit of truth. Often used to refer to a small amount of insight or truth in something otherwise false or nonsensical. The only reason why Dave's joke about my love life bothered me so much is because there was a grain of truth to it.
See also: grain, of, truth

against the grain

1. In the opposite way or perpendicular to the direction of the fibers of a piece of wood (or meat), i.e. its "grain." Don't cut that wood against the grain, or it will be rough around the edges. For most cuts of steak, cookbooks recommend cutting against the grain.
2. By extension, in opposition or contrary to what is generally understood, assumed, practiced, or accepted. The artist always tried to go against the grain, ignoring the artistic trends of her day.
See also: grain

*against the grain

 
1. Lit. across the alignment of the fibers of a piece of wood. (*Typically: be ~; Cut ~; go ~; run ~; saw ~.) You sawed it wrong. You sawed against the grain when you should have cut with grain. You went against the grain and made a mess of your sanding.
2. Fig. running counter to one's feelings or ideas. (*Typically: be ~; go ~.) The idea of my actually taking something that is not mine goes against the grain.
See also: grain

ain't got a grain of sense

 and ain't got a lick of sense
Rur. is or are foolish. Mary spends money like there's no tomorrow. She sure ain't got a grain of sense. I wouldn't trust Jim to take care of my kids. He ain't got a lick of sense.
See also: grain, of, sense

(a) grain of truth

even the smallest amount of truth. The attorney was unable to find a grain of truth in the defendant's testimony. If there were a grain of truth to your statement, I would trust you.
See also: grain, of, truth

take something with a pinch of salt

 and take something with a grain of slt
Fig. to listen to a story or an explanation with considerable doubt. You must take anything she says with a grain of salt. She doesn't always tell the truth. They took my explanation with a pinch of salt. I was sure they didn't believe me.
See also: of, pinch, salt, take

go against the grain

to do something that is the opposite of what is usually done It's not easy to go against the grain and buy stocks when others are selling them.
Usage notes: sometimes used with verbs other than go: The changes will certainly rub against the grain here.
Etymology: from the act of cutting wood against the grain (in the direction opposite to the direction in which the fibers in the wood lie)
See also: grain

take something with a grain of salt

to consider something to be not completely true or right I've read the article, which I take with a grain of salt.
Related vocabulary: hard to swallow
Etymology: based on the idea that food tastes better and is easier to swallow if you add a little salt
See also: grain, of, salt, take

a grain of truth

a small amount of truth There's a grain of truth in what she says but it's greatly exaggerated.
See also: grain, of, truth

go against the grain

if something that you say or do goes against the grain, you do not like saying or doing it and it is not what you would usually say or do It goes against the grain for William to admit that he's wrong. I don't think she likes to praise men. It goes against the grain.
See take with a pinch of salt
See also: grain

take something with a pinch of salt

  (British & Australian) also take something with a grain of salt (American & Australian)
if you take what someone says with a pinch of salt, you do not completely believe it You have to take everything she says with a pinch of salt. She has a tendency to exaggerate. It's interesting to read the reports in the newspapers, but I tend to take them with a grain of salt.
See rub salt in the wound
See also: of, pinch, salt, take

against the grain

Opposed to one's inclination or preference, as in We followed the new supervisor's advice, though it went against the grain. This metaphor refers to the natural direction of the fibers in a piece of wood, called its grain; when sawed obliquely, or "against the grain," the wood will tend to splinter. [c. 1600] For a synonym, see rub the wrong way.
See also: grain

with a grain of salt

Also, with a pinch of salt. Skeptically, with reservations. For example, I always take Sandy's stories about illnesses with a grain of salt-she tends to exaggerate. This expression is a translation of the Latin cum grano salis, which Pliny used in describing Pompey's discovery of an antidote for poison (to be taken with a grain of salt). It was soon adopted by English writers.
See also: grain, of, salt

against the grain

Contrary to custom, one's inclination, or good sense.
See also: grain

with a grain of salt

With reservations; skeptically: Take that advice with a grain of salt.
See also: grain, of, salt