Grinding - milling

Elcaracol

Senior Member
Hi everybody,

I'd like to know the difference between grinding and milling.
Because I have this sentence: "A windmill grinds or mills grain".
I can't understand the difference.
Thank you in advance.
 
  • anite

    Senior Member
    Italian
    I'd say there isn't any difference between the verb 'to grind' and 'to mill', in fact the phrase is:

    "A windmill grinds or mills grain"

    Those verbs are synonymous!!
    Have a great time, Elcaracol
     

    Elcaracol

    Senior Member
    The problem is in translating the broading differebce, because in the original thy use both and I'd like to be faithful to this. So, for an english-speaking, what kind of difference (light difference, of course!) can he find?
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    "Mill" is an interesting word because of its history. Strictly speaking, "milling" is "grinding" of grain and you can purchase small pepper mills, for example, to put on your dining-room table.

    As previously mentioned, "grinding" is much broader than simply reducing grain to its ultimate form. We have abrasive grinding wheels for sharpening steel tools and the grinding sound of inexpert motorcar drivers shifting without proper use o the clutch.

    When mills first came about, they apparently were water-powered and eventually any time flowing water was used as a power source, the mechanism was called a mill. So, we now have lumber mills, paper mills, etc. even though the power source has nothing to do with water.

    We also have the situation where wind power was used to grind grain, i.e. windmills. Windmills have many purposes these days, including the gigantic wind turbines studding hillsides in windy areas as sources of electric power. Moreover, windmills have been used for centuries for such purposes as pumping water. In Holland, where much of the farmed area is below sea level, windmills were used to pump water into the ocean.

    In addition to all of this, we have milling machines that use rotating cutters to shape metals and have nothing to do with grinding.
    Because I have this sentence: "A windmill grinds or mills grain".
    You can see a picture of a windmill in northern Germany HERE that was still grinding grain commercially in 2002. It might be the last one on earth actually doing so. Ergo, your sentence is illogical in a modern context.

    Good luck
     
    Last edited:

    Imber Ranae

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    The problem is in translating the broading differebce, because in the original thy use both and I'd like to be faithful to this. So, for an english-speaking, what kind of difference (light difference, of course!) can he find?
    Well, milling is technically only done at mills*, whereas grinding can be done anywhere. To mill literally means to grind with or at a mill (the machine or the building that houses it, respectively).


    *There are a few other ancillary meanings of the verb "to mill" that have developed from this main sense, but they are mostly technical (as "milling a coin" in coinage) or slang.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    "Milling" a log into lumber is stretching it a little for "grinding" but there are portable lumber mills. "Milling" can also be used for sheet metal rolling before pressing or stamping.

    However, once the word "grain" is present in the context, there will be no ambiguity - thank goodness for context :D
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Definitely synonymous in this context. :tick:

    "To grind" has a broader meaning, though. :cross:
    Let's see how far this civil disagreement can go before WW III erupts. :)

    I maintain that to mill is the broader term, and that to grind may be a subset of it.

    Milling includes not only grinding, but other mechanical process transformations of material. This may involve pulverizing, melting and casting and rolling (think of steel mills, where ore is the raw material, and strip steel is one output.), stamping, embossing, and cutting.

    What help is this to the thread starter? Not much, I'm afraid. The terms do seem synonymous in the topic sentence. I suggest "grind and process" as the source terms for the translation.
     

    Imber Ranae

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    Let's see how far this civil disagreement can go before WW III erupts. :)

    I maintain that to mill is the broader term, and that to grind may be a subset of it.

    Milling includes not only grinding, but other mechanical process transformations of material. This may involve pulverizing, melting and casting and rolling (think of steel mills, where ore is the raw material, and strip steel is one output.), stamping, embossing, and cutting.

    What help is this to the thread starter? Not much, I'm afraid. The terms do seem synonymous in the topic sentence. I suggest "grind and process" as the source terms for the translation.
    I see what you mean. For some reason I was thinking only of grain mills and other analogous types of machinery whose primary function is to grind down substances into finer granules, like cement mills, and had forgotten that the word applies more broadly to certain kinds of factories and treatment facilities, like lumber mills, as well.

    Perhaps it is not correct to say that either verb is actually broader than the other, but only that there is some semantic overlap between the two. Milling is not only a process of grinding, and grinding does not happen solely at mills.
     

    nmkit

    Member
    English-US
    I maintain that to mill is the broader term, and that to grind may be a subset of it.
    Now see, I view these as just the opposite. That grind is the broader term and mill the more specific. I grind my teeth but certainly would never mill them.;)
     
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