AskDefine | Define grass

Dictionary Definition



1 narrow-leaved green herbage: grown as lawns; used as pasture for grazing animals; cut and dried as hay
2 German writer of novels and poetry and plays (born 1927) [syn: Gunter Grass, Gunter Wilhelm Grass]
3 animal food for browsing or grazing [syn: eatage, forage, pasture, pasturage]
4 street names for marijuana [syn: pot, green goddess, dope, weed, gage, sess, sens, smoke, skunk, locoweed, Mary Jane]


1 shoot down, of birds
2 cover with grass; "The owners decided to grass their property"
3 spread out clothes on the grass to let it dry and bleach
4 cover with grass [syn: grass over]
5 feed with grass
6 give away information about somebody; "He told on his classmate who had cheated on the exam" [syn: denounce, tell on, betray, give away, rat, shit, shop, snitch, stag]

User Contributed Dictionary



græs, from , from the same root as grow and green.


  • , /grɑːs/, /grA:s/ italbrac RP
  • , /græs/, /gr} Marijuana.

Extensive Definition

Grass is a common word that generally describes a monocotyledonous green plant in the family Gramineae (Poaceae). True grasses include most plants grown as grains, for pasture, and for lawns (turf). They include some more specialised crops such as lemongrass, as well as many ornamental plants. They also include plants often not recognized to be grasses, such as bamboos or some species of weeds called crab grass.

Use of the term

The term grass is often used to describe related plants in the rush (Juncaceae) and sedge (Cyperaceae) families, that somewhat resemble grass. It may also be used to describe completely unrelated plants, sometimes of similar appearances to grass, with leaves rising vertically from the ground, and sometimes of dissimilar appearance. The term came about in the early 15th century, from the Old English græs, derived from the same root as "grow". A single piece of grass is called a blade.


Grass is also used in several contexts in sports, most notably with sports played on fields such as football, cricket, baseball, and rugby. In some sports facilities, including indoor domes and places where maintenance of a grass field would be difficult, grass may be replaced with artificial turf, a synthetic grass-like substitute. Sports such as cricket, golf and tennis are particularly dependent on the quality of the grass on which the sport is played.
A cricket pitch often starts with a thin cover of green blades, but over the course of a five-day match tends to dry out and harden. Even in one-day matches cricket pitches are often nearly bare earth covered only by a layer of dry yellow stalks. A green or moist pitch favours the bowler, as it varies the bounce of the ball and increases its movement. A hard, dry pitch gives a more predictable, higher bounce which favours the batsman. The nature of the outfield is also important, as grass may slow down a ball, causing it to stop before reaching a boundary or allowing a fielder more time to gather the ball. Laws 10 and 11 of cricket detail maintenance and protection of the pitch. Unlike test cricket and One Day International, indoor cricket is played on an artificial surface.
In tennis, grass is grown on very hard-packed soil, and bounces may vary depending on the grass's health, how recently it has been mowed, and the wear and tear of recent play. The most famous grass tennis court in the world is Centre Court at Wimbledon. But tennis is usually played on clay courts, and only a few regular tennis tournaments are played on grass. The surface is softer than hard courts, so the ball bounces lower, and players must reach the ball faster. Grass courts are now rare as they must be watered and mowed often, and take longer to dry after rain than hard courts.
Golf, on the other hand, is usually played on grass, and is dependent on the maintenance of a very large area of well-cut grass. Grass on golf courses is kept in three distinct conditions: that of the rough, the fairway, and the putting green. Grass on the fairway is short and even, allowing the player to cleanly strike the ball. Playing from the rough is a disadvantage because the grass is generally much longer, which may affect the flight of the ball. Grass on the putting green is the shortest and most even, ideally allowing the ball to slide smoothly over the surface. An entire industry revolves around the development and marketing of grasses for golf courses.

In fiction

Grass plays a central role in two important science fiction catastrophe novels from the 1940s and 1950s, Ward Moore's Greener Than You Think, in which the world is slowly taken over by unstoppable Bermuda Grass, John Christopher's The Death of Grass, in which a plague that kills off all forms of grass threatens the survival of the human species.

See also




  • Chapman, G.P. and W.E. Peat. 1992. An Introduction to the Grasses. CAB Internat., Oxon, UK.
  • Cheplick, G.P. 1998. Population Biology of Grasses. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  • Milne, L. and M. Milne. 1967. Living Plants of the World. Chaticleer Press, N.Y.
  • Soderstrom, T.R., K.W. Hilu, C.S. Campbell, and M.E. Barkworth, eds. 1987. Grass Systematics and Evolution. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C.
  • Went, Frits W. 1963. The Plants. Time-Life Books, N.Y.

External links

grass in Samogitian: Žuolė
grass in Bulgarian: Трева
grass in German: Gras
grass in Modern Greek (1453-): Χόρτα
grass in Spanish: Césped
grass in Finnish: Ruoho
grass in French: Herbe
grass in Hebrew: דשא
grass in Italian: Erba (botanica)
grass in Lithuanian: Žolė
grass in Dutch: Gras (uiteenzetting)
grass in Russian: Трава
grass in Ukrainian: Трава

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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