What Is Another Way to Say “Against the Grain”?

Looking for synonyms for against the grain? We’ve got you covered!

Here’s a list of other ways to say against the grain.

  • Contrary to
  • Against the current
  • Upstream
  • Contrary to what is usual
  • Out of step
  • In opposition to
  • Counter to
  • At odds with
  • In defiance of
  • Bucking the trend
  • Swimming against the tide
  • Going against the flow
  • Against the norm
  • In contrast to
  • Flying in the face of

Want to learn how to say against the grain professionally? Keep reading for examples and use cases.

1. Contrary to

When to use: When something goes against established beliefs or expectations.
Example: “Her marketing strategy, contrary to conventional wisdom, focused on older demographics.”

2. Against the current

When to use: Used metaphorically to describe actions or beliefs that go against prevailing trends or opinions.
Example: “Innovating in this conservative industry means moving against the current.”

3. Upstream

When to use: Often used in the context of making progress despite difficulties or opposition.
Example: “Developing a start-up in a saturated market feels like swimming upstream.”

4. Contrary to what is usual

When to use: When actions or decisions do not align with what is typically expected or accepted.
Example: “Choosing not to use digital advertising, contrary to what is usual, has distinguished our brand.”

5. Out of step

When to use: Describes beliefs or actions that are not in harmony with the general way of thinking.
Example: “Their approach to employee well-being is out of step with industry standards.”

6. In opposition to

When to use: When a stance or action directly confronts or challenges prevailing ideas or practices.
Example: “The new policy, in opposition to traditional methods, encourages remote working.”

7. Counter to

When to use: Similar to “contrary to,” it emphasizes actions or ideas that defy or go against another set of ideas or practices.
Example: “Their environmental stance is counter to the industry’s gradual approach to sustainability.”

8. At odds with

When to use: When there is a clear conflict or discrepancy between two ideas, beliefs, or actions.
Example: “The decision to cut research funding is at odds with the company’s goal of fostering innovation.”

9. In defiance of

When to use: Indicates a bold resistance to a rule, expectation, or norm.
Example: “They launched the campaign in defiance of market research suggesting it would fail.”

10. Bucking the trend

When to use: When actions or strategies go against the current trends or expectations.
Example: “By focusing on quality over quantity, they are bucking the trend in fast fashion.”

11. Swimming against the tide

When to use: Describes efforts that go against the dominant direction or opinion, often requiring extra effort or conviction.
Example: “Swimming against the tide, she promoted the importance of print media in a digital age.”

12. Going against the flow

When to use: Similar to “swimming against the tide,” it emphasizes non-conformity or resistance to the mainstream.
Example: “Going against the flow, the company maintains a strict no-outsourcing policy.”

13. Against the norm

When to use: When actions, beliefs, or practices deviate from what is considered normal or standard.
Example: “Offering a four-day workweek is against the norm, but it has increased our productivity.”

14. In contrast to

When to use: Highlights a stark difference between two things, especially when one is unconventional or innovative.
Example: “In contrast to other tech companies, we have a completely flat organizational structure.”

15. Flying in the face of

When to use: Used to describe actions or beliefs that openly challenge or defy something.
Example: “Their decision to halt all advertising spends flies in the face of traditional business growth strategies.”

Linda Brown