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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References in periodicals archive ?
But the firm, who were best-priced about Federer at 5-6, have gone against the grain in this instance.
'The sendings-off have gone against the grain a little bit,' said Jackett (pictured left).
The sendings-off have gone against the grain the way our games have been this season.
While virtually all business publications have been hemorrhaging at the newsstands, BE has gone against the grain. From the second half of 1999 (just prior to the dot-com bust when newsstand sales for business publications peaked) to the second half of 2004, our magazine posted the highest overall circulation increase at 5.9% and was the only business/finance publication with more newsstand sales now than during the 1999 market peak.
While the northeast office real estate market has experienced minimal improvement, office buildings in Fort Lee have gone against the grain and have been able to successfully release available office space quickly.