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Grain

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A knave in grain. A knave, though a rich man, or magnate. Grain means scarlet (Latin, granum, the coccus, or scarlet dye).

“A military vest of purple flowed

Livelier than Melibeʹan [Thessalian], or the grain

Of Sarra [Tyre] worn by kings and heroes old

In time of truce.”


Paradise Lost, xi. 241–244.

Rogue in grain. A punning application of the above phrase to millers.

To go against the grain. Against one’s inclination. The allusion is to wood, which cannot be easily planed the wrong way of the grain.

With a grain of salt. Latin, “Cum grano salis,” with great reservation. The French phrase has another meaning—thus, “Il le mangerait avec un grain de sel” means, he could double up such a little whipper-snapper as easily as one could swallow a grain of salt. In the Latin phrase cum does not mean “with” on “together with,” but it adverbialises the noun, as cum fide, faithfully, cum silentio, silently, cum lœtitia, joyfully, cum grano, minutely (“cum grano salis,” in the minute manner that one takes salt).

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Graceless Florin
Graciosa
Gracioso
Gradasso
Gradely
Gradgrind (Thomas)
Græmes (The)
Graham
Grahame’s Dyke
Grail (The Holy)
Grain
Gramercy
Grammar
Grammarians
Grammont
Granary of Europe
Granby
Grand (French)
Grandee
Grand Alliance
Grand Lama