grain

Definitions

General Science

  • noun the size of crystals in a rock or the size of particles of sand

Agriculture

  • noun the seed, which is technically a fruit, of a cereal crop such as wheat or maize
  • noun a cereal crop such as wheat of which the seeds are dried and eaten
  • noun a measure of weight equal to 0.0648 grams.

Construction

  • The directional arrangement of fibers in a piece of wood or woven fabric, or of the particulate constituents in stone or slate.
  • The texture of a substance or pattern as determined by the size of the constituent particles.
  • Any small, hard particle (like sand).
  • A metric unit of weight; 7,000 grains equal one pound.

Food

  • The edible seeds of various cultivated plants usually, but not always, monocotyledons (grasses). The most common are wheat, rice, maize, barley, oats, rye and millet. Sold as whole, kibbled, cracked, ground into flour, flattened into flakes or partially cooked.

Media Studies

  • noun the rough effect on a television image caused by electrical noise
  • noun a particle in a photographic emulsion, on whose size the extent of possible enlargement depends

Medical

  • noun a very small piece of something hard such as salt

Military

  • noun a predominant direction in which the high ground and rivers of a region run (thereby affecting the direction of routes)

Publishing

  • noun the direction in which the fibres run in wood
  • noun the size of dots which form a photograph
  • noun a spotted effect on fast photographic films due to the size of the light-sensitive silver halide crystals
  • verb to texture the surface of a lithographic plate to allow it to hold the ink

Origin & History of “grain”

Grain comes via Old French from Latin grānum ‘seed’. Its prehistoric Indo-European ancestor was *grnóm, literally ‘worn-down particle’, which also produced English corn, and it has given English a remarkably wide range of related forms: not just obvious derivatives like granary (16th c.), granule (17th c.), and ingrained (16th c.), but also garner (12th c.) (originally a noun derived from Latin grānārium ‘granary’), gram ‘chick-pea’ (18th c.) (from the Portuguese descendant of grānum, now mainly encountered in ‘gram flour’), grange, granite, gravy, grenade, and the second halves of filigree and pomegranate.
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