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 ?
It was a score which looked to have clinched it, but with just two minutes remaining and his space eaten up by the lateral running of his team-mates, Shortland cut against the grain and beat two tacklers to score his second try.
Hollande is promising to cut against the grain in Europe and push back against the wave of austerity measures sweeping the area during the economic decline.
Unsettling the fixed identity of Africans, Aldridge disrupted a theatrical trend by inserting interpretations that cut against the grain of stereotypes.
But Google has always cut against the grain, and that has usually paid off for them.
I strongly believe that her social message of 'no such thing as society' and the poll tax cut against the grain of Scotland's social conscience.
Such a policy, if adopted, would cut against the grain of conventional opinion, which holds that newcomers should integrate and acquire citizenship before they are allowed to vote.
While for a long time the idea of "regional art" exhibitions has been laughable at anything but a global scale, in which impossibly large swaths of geopolitically unstable land (Africa, the Middle East, Latin America) are represented, there is something to be said for a quaint show that tries to cut against the grain, particularly in light of the homogeneity and repetition that increasingly dominate shows that promise the new and the next.
Pryce had the bottle to cut against the grain by pointing out that, given the players and money at his disposal, we shouldn't expect anything less from the former Great Britain coach.
Nursing leaders have saved and improved countless lives through innovations that have often cut against the grain of formerly accepted practice.
2 to 3 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut against the grain into 1/8-inch-thick slices OR 24 jumbo tiger shrimp
This affirmation cut against the grain of modern thought, for no lesser cultural critics than Martin Heidegger, Theodor Adorno, and Max Horkheimer had assailed these technologies for dulling our auditory sensibility.
Medicine may be the one field wherein the principles of Bayh-Dole hit the wall of controversy--a controversy which has become more pronounced as a number of voluntary standards have emerged which seem to cut against the grain of the federal Law.
If ministers keep trying to cut against the grain tensions are bound to arise.
Helge Midttun (Vitana): Though this might cut against the grain with this group I have a question: Aren't the balance-sheet problems of local businesses partly the result of a lack of protection for domestic industry?