\ˈgrā-nē \
grainier; grainiest

Definition of grainy 

1 : resembling or having some characteristic of grain : not smooth or fine

2 of a photograph : appearing to be composed of grain-like particles

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Other Words from grainy

graininess noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for grainy


coarse, grained, granular, granulated


dusty, fine, floury, powdery, superfine, ultrafine

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Examples of grainy in a Sentence

The mustard has a grainy texture. grainy sand kept it off the rankings as one of the nation's best beaches

Recent Examples on the Web

The film is mostly three-and-a-half minutes of grainy fall foliage, men riding horses, and jerky pans. Matt Blitz, Popular Mechanics, "Science Meets Legend: The Story of Our Search for Bigfoot," 8 Oct. 2018 She's seen showing off some of her signature Spears-y dance moves in front of a set of grainy TV screens that eventually reveal the My Prerogative bottle. Zoe Weiner, Allure, "Britney Spears Announced Her New Fragrance, My Prerogative, in the Most Britney Spears Way Ever," 16 July 2018 At some point, Meghan's feet even appeared to sink into the sand, meaning her shoes would have been filled with the grainy particles. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle's Rothy's Flats Filled With Sand at Melbourne Beach," 18 Oct. 2018 The grainy photo sheds light on some of the dilemmas with rugby at youth level. George Ramsay, CNN, "From teenager to test match: The long road to rugby stardom," 11 May 2018 The grainy, vintage-like video begins with Kanye and T.I deep in a discussion about Ye's latest antics. Nerisha Penrose, Billboard, "Kanye West Discusses Why He Likes Trump in Behind-The-Scenes Footage of 'Ye vs. the People'," 1 May 2018 At one end supermarket tabloids published stories and grainy pictures of extraterrestrial landings and improbable celebrity shenanigans. Amar Bhidé, WSJ, "Skepticism Beats Snopes as an Antidote to Fake News," 8 June 2018 But when it was first offered last year, Chipotle’s health-conscious rendition of queso was derided as grainy and tasteless (in an echo of Burger King’s deeply unpopular lower-fat Satisfries french fries a few years earlier). Tiffany Hsu, New York Times, "Meat Wrapped in Meat. Doughnut Sandwiches. Want Some of Fast Food’s Big Ideas?," 22 June 2018 The warm glow of a street lamp struggles to cut through the pea soup, but the details of the scene remain indefinite, blurry, faintly mysterious, the people’s faces shrouded in shadow, the sky grainy and gray on the old-fashioned film. Andrew Lanham, The New Republic, "Michael Ondaatje’s Haunting Pasts," 8 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'grainy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of grainy

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for grainy

Last Updated

15 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for grainy

The first known use of grainy was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for grainy



English Language Learners Definition of grainy

: not smooth or fine

of a photograph : not clear or sharp because of having a picture formed from many dots that are large enough to be seen

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More from Merriam-Webster on grainy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for grainy

Spanish Central: Translation of grainy

Nglish: Translation of grainy for Spanish Speakers

Comments on grainy

What made you want to look up grainy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something that serves to warn or remind

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