AskDefine | Define grain

Dictionary Definition



1 a small hard particle; "a grain of sand"
2 foodstuff prepared from the starchy grains of cereal grasses [syn: food grain, cereal]
3 used for pearls or diamonds: 50 mg or 1/4 carat [syn: metric grain]
4 1/60 dram; equals an avoirdupois grain or 64.799 milligrams
5 1/7000 pound; equals a troy grain or 64.799 milligrams
6 dry seedlike fruit produced by the cereal grasses: e.g. wheat, barley, Indian corn [syn: caryopsis]
7 the direction or texture of fibers found in wood or leather or stone or in a woven fabric; "saw the board across the grain"


1 thoroughly work in; "His hands were grained with dirt" [syn: ingrain]
2 paint (a surface) to make it look like stone or wood
3 form into grains [syn: granulate]
4 become granular [syn: granulate]

User Contributed Dictionary


harvested seeds of various grass-related food crops
  • Chinese:
  • : Mandarin: (liángshí)
  • Czech: zrno, zrní
  • Japanese: 穀物
single seed of grain
  • Czech: zrno, zrnko
  • Japanese: qualifier particle 粒; qualifier seed
single particle of a substance
  • Czech: zrnko
  • Japanese: 粒
unit of weight
  • Czech: grán

Extensive Definition

Cereal crops or grains are mostly grasses cultivated for their edible grains or fruitseeds (i.e., botanically a type of fruit called a caryopsis). Cereal grains are grown in greater quantities and provide more energy worldwide than any other type of crop; they are therefore staple crops. They are also a rich source of carbohydrate. In some developing nations, grain in the form of rice or corn, constitutes practically the entire diet of poor people.. In developed nations, cereal consumption is both more moderate and varied but still substantial.
The word 'cereal' derives from 'Ceres', the name of the pre-Roman goddess of harvest and agriculture. Grains are traditionally called corn in the United Kingdom and Ireland, though that word became specified for maize in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.


The following table shows annual production of cereal grains, in 1961, 2005 and 2006, ranked by 2006 production. All but buckwheat and quinoa are true grasses (these two are pseudocereals).
Maize, wheat and rice, between them, accounted for 87% of all grain production, worldwide, and 43% of all food calories in 2003. world oil prices at nearly $100 a barrel, global population growth, climate change, loss of agricultural land to residential and industrial development,, growing consumer demand in China and India and feeding 635 million tons per year to livestock as fodder have pushed up the price of grain. Food riots have recently taken place in many countries across the world.
Water deficits, causing decrease in grain production, is one cause of grain independence. It already spurs heavy grain imports in numerous smaller countries, may soon do the same in larger countries, such as China or India. The water tables are falling in scores of countries (including Northern China, the US, and India) due to widespread overpumping using powerful diesel and electric pumps. Other countries affected include Pakistan, Iran, and Mexico. This will eventually lead to water scarcity and cutbacks in grain harvest. Even with the overpumping of its aquifers, China is developing a grain deficit. When this happens, it will almost certainly drive grain prices upward. Most of the 3 billion people projected to be added worldwide by mid-century will be born in countries already experiencing water shortages. One suggested solution is for population growth to be slowed quickly by investing heavily in female literacy and family planning services. Desalination is also considered a viable and effective solution to the problem of water shortages.
After China and India, there is a second tier of smaller countries with large water deficits — Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Mexico, and Pakistan. Four of these already import a large share of their grain. Only Pakistan remains self-sufficient. But with a population expanding by 4 million a year, it will also likely soon turn to the world market for grain.


External links

grain in Afrikaans: Graan
grain in Aragonese: Zerial
grain in Catalan: Cereal
grain in Danish: Korn
grain in German: Getreide
grain in Spanish: Cereal
grain in Esperanto: Cerealo
grain in Persian: غلات
grain in French: Céréale
grain in Indonesian: Serealia
grain in Icelandic: Korn
grain in Italian: Cereali
grain in Hebrew: דגנים
grain in Swahili (macrolanguage): nafaka
grain in Latin: Frumentum
grain in Lithuanian: Javai
grain in Lojban: gurni
grain in Macedonian: Жито
grain in Malay (macrolanguage): Bijirin
grain in Dutch: Graan
grain in Japanese: 穀物
grain in Norwegian: Korn
grain in Polish: Zboża
grain in Portuguese: Cereal
grain in Quechua: Riwi
grain in Russian: Хлебные зерновые культуры
grain in Simple English: Grain
grain in Slovak: Obilie
grain in Slovenian: Žito
grain in Serbian: Житарице
grain in Finnish: Vilja
grain in Swedish: Spannmål
grain in Tamil: தானியங்கள்
grain in Thai: ธัญพืช
grain in Ukrainian: Крупа
grain in Samogitian: Javā
grain in Chinese: 粮食

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

abrade, ace, acorn, aftergrass, animus, apply paint, aptitude, atom, atomize, bamboo, barley, beat, bedaub, bedizen, begild, bent, berry, besmear, bias, bird seed, bit, blood, body-build, bran, brand, bray, break up, breccia, brecciate, breed, brush on paint, calcimine, cane, cast, cat food, cereal, cereal plant, character, characteristic, characteristics, chicken feed, chop, clan, coarsen, coat, color, come to dust, comminute, complexion, composition, constituents, constitution, contriturate, corn, cover, crasis, crumb, crumble, crumble into dust, crumble to dust, crush, dab, daub, debris, deep-dye, denomination, description, designation, detritus, dharma, diathesis, dip, disintegrate, disposition, distemper, dog food, dole, dot, double-dye, dram, dribble, driblet, drop, droplet, dwarf, dye, eatage, eccentricity, effloresce, emblazon, enamel, engild, ensilage, ethos, face, fall to dust, fall to pieces, farinaceous plant, farthing, fast-dye, feather, feed, feel, fiber, finish, flaxseed, fleck, flour, flyspeck, fodder, fog, forage, forage grass, form, fragment, frame, fresco, fruit, genius, genre, genus, gild, glaze, gloss, gnat, gobbet, graminaceous plant, granular texture, granulate, granule, granulet, granulize, grass, grate, gravel, grind, grind to powder, grist, grit, groat, habit, hair, handful, hay, hayseed, hint, hue, humor, humors, idiosyncrasy, ilk, illuminate, imbue, inclination, indentation, individualism, ingrain, iota, japan, jot, kernel, kidney, kin, kind, knub, label, lacquer, lawn grass, lay on color, leaning, levigate, line, linseed, little, little bit, lot, lota, make, makeup, manner, mark, mash, meal, mental set, mettle, microbe, microorganism, midge, mill, mind, mind-set, minim, minimum, minutia, minutiae, mite, modicum, mold, molecule, morsel, mote, nap, nature, nub, number, nut, nutshell, oats, ornamental grass, ounce, paint, parget, particle, pasturage, pasture, pattern, pebble, persuasion, pestle, pet food, phylum, physique, pigment, pile, pinch, pinhead, pinpoint, pip, pit, pittance, pock, point, pound, powder, predilection, predisposition, preference, prime, proclivity, propensity, property, protuberance, provender, pulverize, quality, race, reduce to powder, reed, roughen, sand, scintilla, scrap, scratch, scratch feed, scrunch, scruple, seed, set, shade, shadow, shag, shape, shard, shellac, shingle, shred, silage, slant, slop on paint, slops, smash, smear, smidgen, smidgin, smitch, smooth, snip, snippet, somatotype, sort, soupcon, species, speck, spirit, spoonful, spot, squash, stain, stamp, stipple, stone, strain, straw, streak, stripe, structure, style, suchness, suggestion, surface, surface texture, swill, system, taste, temper, temperament, tendency, tenor, texture, the like of, the likes of, thimbleful, tinct, tincture, tinge, tint, tiny bit, tittle, tone, tooth, trace, tribe, trifling amount, triturate, trivia, turn, turn of mind, twist, type, undercoat, vanishing point, variety, varnish, vein, wale, warp, wash, way, weave, wheat, whit, whitewash, woof
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