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 ?
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.
Even if people felt like splurging for the holidays, any boost in spending on gifts and entertaining would have to run against the grain of what remains a strong inclination toward austerity in discretionary outlays.
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.
They defy existing rules, run against the grain of prevailing public opinion, raise unpleasant issues for public discussion, and demand that public or official power be exercised equitably and humanely, according to internationally accepted standards of democratic pluralism and human rights.
Your track record also has enabled you to get away with some splendidly Rudinesque traits that run against the grain in corporate Hollywood: You yell and scream a lot.
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.
But they also run against the grain of many of the essays in the rest of the book, which presume that "falling behind" meant that at one time Latin America had kept apace and that the timing of the lag can be dated to the nineteenth century.
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.