grain of the country

danel32

Senior Member
Estonian - Estonia
Taken from Attenborough in Paradise. He wandering in jungle and says: Now we had left the main river and were travelling across the grain of the country.

I cant find anywhere, what does that expression means?
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    This seems to be figurative language that compares the geography of a country with the grain of wood. I imagine you are passing over obstacles in a difficult direction if you are "traveling across the grain of the country." If you were traveling "with the grain of the country", you would follow the path of least resistance as you traveled through the country.

    I have never heard or seen the expression before, but it's fairly common to talk about cutting "across the grain" of a piece of wood.
     

    The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    This seems to be figurative language that compares the geography of a country with the grain of wood. I imagine you are passing over obstacles in a difficult direction if you are "traveling across the grain of the country." If you were traveling "with the grain of the country", you would follow the path of least resistance as you traveled through the country.

    I have never heard or seen the expression before, but it's fairly common to talk about cutting "across the grain" of a piece of wood.
    Agreed. If there were a number of roughly parallel river valleys, traveling perpendicularly to them might be thought of as going "across the grain."
     
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