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 the natural inclination or feeling of someone or something.
This phrase alludes to the fact that wood is easier to cut along the line of the grain than across or against it.
See also: grain

against the grain

Contrary to custom, one's inclination, or good sense.
See also: grain
References in periodicals archive ?
Seven furlongs is a specialised distance and, having already proved himself over the trip on his racecourse debut and running well again, Against The Grain fits the bill.
He should certainly come on for that experience and although Mark Johnston's horses have not all been sparkling, Against The Grain is obviously in good heart.
Against the Grain unveils many of the secrets the biotechnology giants would rather you didn't know.
Selecting just a few students and cutting others goes against the grain of an emphasis on teaming, inclusion, exploration and full participation.
Against the grain, Yvonne goes to her friend, the sage femme/nurse/witch, and drinks a concoction that results in an abortion.
Constructing actual preservice programs that provide the social, organizational, and intellectual contexts for learning to teach against the grain in the company of more experienced mentors has been a daunting challenge for teacher educators.
He had committed a wrong against Rightsland and that went against the grain.
Use the badger bristle against the grain to get under the whiskers.
In that sense, Kincaid is a voice-giver, inviting us to read against the grain, exposing the suppression of heterogeneous utterances.
At best, by reading against the grain of the films' conventions, spectators can interpret these films as religious.
Increasingly, you are being asked to exercise skills that run against the grain of your training.
If Western Europe could move so far in the direction of integration against the grain of divisive nationalisms, why not use a common national identity to combat the Arab World's fissiparousness?
Going beyond just the headlines, the Factor uncovers news items from the established wisdom and goes against the grain of the more traditional interview style programs.
It may go against the grain to back Cheltenham runners at shorter than 2-1 but I'd sooner go against the grain than against any of these.
AGAINST THE GRAIN, racing close to the inside rail, ran away with the John Smith's Silver Cup yesterday and triggered an immediate shake-up in the market for today's Ayr Gold Cup, which saw similarly lowdrawn horses come right to the fore.