When carpenters sand a piece of wood, they "go with the grain." Grain is the texture on piece of wood, which often forms long patterns that show the direction in which the tree grew.

You may have heard someone say "there's a grain of truth to that" when referring to an outrageous story that has a tiny bit of truth to it. A grain can also be a speck or a particle — the tiniest bit of something. Don't confuse this with another definition of grain, the kind you find in your bread — wheat, oats, alfalfa, and so on. Check out all the grains in the ten-grain bread next time you're in the bakery!

Definitions of grain
  1. noun
    a cereal grass
    “wheat is a grain that is grown in Kansas”
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    type of:
    cereal, cereal grass
    grass whose starchy grains are used as food: wheat; rice; rye; oats; maize; buckwheat; millet
  2. noun
    dry seed-like fruit produced by the cereal grasses: e.g. wheat, barley, Indian corn
    synonyms: caryopsis
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    seed of amaranth plants used as a native cereal in Central and South America
    a grain of barley
    wheat berry
    a grain of wheat
    a single whole grain of a cereal
    the seed of the cereal grass
    the dried grains or kernels or corn used as animal feed or ground for meal
    type of:
    a small hard fruit
  3. noun
    foodstuff prepared from the starchy grains of cereal grasses
    synonyms: cereal, food grain
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    corn, edible corn
    ears of corn that can be prepared and served for human food
    grain intended to be or that has been ground
    the hulled and crushed grain of various cereals
    small seed of any of various annual cereal grasses especially Setaria italica
    barley, barleycorn
    a grain of barley
    grain ground into flour
    wheat, wheat berry
    grains of common wheat; sometimes cooked whole or cracked as cereal; usually ground into flour
    seed of the annual grass Avena sativa (spoken of primarily in the plural as `oats')
    grains used as food either unpolished or more often polished
    Indian rice, wild rice
    grains of aquatic grass of North America
    a cereal grain (usually barley) that is kiln-dried after having been germinated by soaking in water; used especially in brewing and distilling
    green corn, sweet corn
    corn that can be eaten as a vegetable while still young and soft
    hulled corn with the bran and germ removed
    small kernels of corn exploded by heat
    pearl barley
    barley ground into small round pellets
    bulghur, bulgur, bulgur wheat
    parched crushed wheat
    cracked wheat
    grains of wheat that have been crushed into small pieces
    brown rice
    unpolished rice retaining the yellowish-brown outer layer
    polished rice, white rice
    having husk or outer brown layers removed
    rice in the husk either gathered or still in the field
    unfermented or fermenting malt
    type of:
    food product, foodstuff
    a substance that can be used or prepared for use as food
  4. noun
    a relatively small granular particle of a substance
    “a grain of sand”
    “a grain of sugar”
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    a tiny grain
    a tiny granule in the cytoplasm that is where protein synthesis takes place under the direction of mRNA
    small granule (of e.g. chrysolite) found in some meteoric rocks
    any of various small particles in the cytoplasm of the cells of plants and some animals containing pigments or starch or oil or protein
    type of:
    atom, corpuscle, molecule, mote, particle, speck
    (nontechnical usage) a tiny piece of anything
  5. noun
    the smallest possible unit of anything
    “there was a grain of truth in what he said”
    “he does not have a grain of sense”
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    type of:
    littleness, smallness
    the property of having a relatively small size
  6. noun
    the physical composition of something (especially with respect to the size and shape of the small constituents of a substance)
    “sand of a fine grain
    “a stone of coarse grain
    synonyms: texture
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    type of:
    composition, constitution, make-up, makeup, physical composition
    the way in which someone or something is composed
  7. verb
    form into grains
    synonyms: granulate
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    type of:
    assume a form or shape
  8. verb
    become granular
    synonyms: granulate
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    type of:
    change form, change shape, deform
    assume a different shape or form
  9. verb
    thoroughly work in
    “His hands were grained with dirt”
    synonyms: ingrain
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    type of:
    penetrate, perforate
    pass into or through, often by overcoming resistance
  10. noun
    1/7000 pound; equals a troy grain or 64.799 milligrams
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    type of:
    avoirdupois unit
    any of the units of the avoirdupois system of weights
  11. noun
    a weight unit used for pearls or diamonds: 50 mg or 1/4 carat
    synonyms: metric grain
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    type of:
    metric weight unit, weight unit
    a decimal unit of weight based on the gram
  12. noun
    1/60 dram; equals an avoirdupois grain or 64.799 milligrams
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    type of:
    troy unit
    any of the unit of the troy system of weights
    apothecaries' unit, apothecaries' weight
    any weight unit used in pharmacy; an ounce is equal to 480 grains and a pound is equal to 12 ounces
  13. noun
    the side of leather from which the hair has been removed
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    type of:
    an animal skin made smooth and flexible by removing the hair and then tanning
  14. noun
    the direction, texture, or pattern of fibers found in wood or leather or stone or in a woven fabric
    “saw the board across the grain
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    wood grain, woodgrain, woodiness
    texture produced by the fibers in wood
    graining, woodgraining
    a texture like that of wood
    type of:
    the characteristic appearance of a surface having a tactile quality
  15. verb
    paint (a surface) to make it look like stone or wood
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    type of:
    apply paint to; coat with paint
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