against the grain

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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

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

against the grain

Contrary to custom, one's inclination, or good sense.
See also: grain
References in periodicals archive ?
So their current economic problems rather run against the grain of a national reticence to get excited about things.
He also spends one chapter explaining why offensive wars of occupation run against the grain of US tradition and political culture.
Drawing upon evidence from archival records and oral history, Dore makes two contentious, well-supported claims about Diriomo's past which run against the grain of the prevailing Nicaraguan and Central American historiography.
There seems to be a universal law of entropy that works against rules and wears them down when they run against the grain of common usage.
That, though, would be to run against the grain of nature.
Buttner's images, which run against the grain of the "good brushstroke," attest to an obsessive desire for erasure, an impulse to subject redemptive ideologies to a painterly torture.
These cases of African American parolees in Georgia run against the grain of prevailing accounts of Georgia's prison system.
It wasn't the first time Carter had run against the grain of stereotypical expectations.
Increasingly, you are being asked to exercise skills that run against the grain of your training.
At the same time, the company has taken pains to use its new-found data-collection and production-planning capabilities wisely, avoiding information decisions that run against the grain of existing operations.
As it stands, in most instances where multiple nations are involved or internal actions run against the grain of international expectations, the notion of law never is brought to bear since it would be meaningless without enforcement.