go against the grain

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go against the grain

To do something or be 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: go, grain
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

go against the grain

COMMON If an idea or action goes against the grain, it is the opposite from what you feel is right or normal and you find it difficult to accept. It goes against the grain to pay more for a product that you know is inferior. The decision not to have children somehow goes against the grain. Note: Something can also run against the grain. It runs against the grain to force your child to leave home. Note: The grain of a piece of wood is the direction of its fibres. It is easier to cut or plane wood along the direction of the grain, rather than across it.
See also: go, grain
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

be/go against the ˈgrain

be or do something different from what is normal or natural: Voting for the Liberal Party goes against the grain with him. He’s voted Conservative all his life.It goes against the grain for her to spend a lot of money on clothes.
The grain is the natural direction of lines in a piece of wood.
See also: go, grain
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

against the grain, to go

“There was something about Prohibition that went against the American grain,” a high school history teacher once said, quite innocent of her pun on this phrase, which means contrary to expectations, custom, or common sense. The literal meaning, against the natural direction of the fibers in a piece of wood, was turned figurative by Shakespeare in Coriolanus (“Preoccupied with what you rather must do than what you should, made you against the grain to voice him consul”). By the time Dickens used it in Edwin Drood (1870) it probably was already a cliché.
See also: go, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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Hughes's ideas were imposing; he envisioned an Augustan showcase of art that would go against the grain of contemporary trends.
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