against the grain

against the grain

Meaning | Synonyms

  • a difficult path to be followed
  • something which is contradicting our wishes
  • action performed unwillingly
  • hard to accept or do something as it is against our rules
  • things we don't do in the usual manner

Example Sentences

  1. It is against the grain for me to tackle dishonest people.
  2. It goes against the grain to accept that she is going to change her bad behavior with others.
  3. Sometimes we must take steps that go against the grain.
  4. Carol is always loyal, and it went against the grain for her to become disloyal.
  5. John goes against the grain by making a cake instead of pizza this time.

Origin

This phrase came into existence long before Shakespeare started to write. One source suggests that it was used by a popular dramatist, very often. In 1607, this phrase was used by Shakespeare, in Coriolanus. This phrase makes an image of the grain in wood, in our minds. If it is designed in the wrong way, it will tear up rather than working smoothly. However, another theory says that it is related to carpentry. The lines which are present on the wood are called grains. To make it look smoother, the tool should be used "along" not "against" it.

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