1 [greyz]
verb (used without object), grazed, grazing.
to feed on growing grass and pasturage, as do cattle, sheep, etc.
Informal. to eat small portions of food, as appetizers or the like, in place of a full-sized meal or to snack during the course of the day in place of regular meals.
verb (used with object), grazed, grazing.
to feed on (growing grass).
to put cattle, sheep, etc., to feed on (grass, pastureland, etc.).
to tend (cattle, sheep, etc.) while they are at pasture.

before 1000; Middle English grasen, Old English grasian, derivative of græs grass

grazeable, adjective
grazer, noun Unabridged


2 [greyz]
verb (used with object), grazed, grazing.
to touch or rub lightly in passing.
to scrape the skin from; abrade: The bullet just grazed his shoulder.
verb (used without object), grazed, grazing.
to touch or rub something lightly, or so as to produce slight abrasion, in passing: to graze against a rough wall.
a grazing; a touching or rubbing lightly in passing.
a slight scratch, scrape, or wound made in passing; abrasion.

1595–1605; perhaps special use of graze1; for the semantic shift compare French effleurer, derivative of fleur flower, in the same meaning

grazer, noun
grazingly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
graze1 (ɡreɪz)
1.  to allow (animals) to consume the vegetation on (an area of land), or (of animals, esp cows and sheep) to feed thus
2.  (tr) to tend (livestock) while at pasture
3.  informal to eat snacks throughout the day rather than formal meals
4.  informal (South African) to eat
5.  informal (intr) to switch between television channels while viewing without watching any channel for long
6.  (US) to pilfer and eat sweets, vegetables, etc, from supermarket shelves while shopping
7.  informal (South African) a snack; something to eat
[Old English grasian, from græsgrass; related to Old High German grasōn, Dutch grazen, Norwegian grasa]

graze2 (ɡreɪz)
vb (when intr, often foll by against or along)
1.  to brush or scrape (against) gently, esp in passing
2.  (tr) to break the skin of (a part of the body) by scraping
3.  the act of grazing
4.  a scrape or abrasion made by grazing
[C17: probably special use of graze1; related to Swedish gräsa]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"feed," O.E. grasian "to feed on grass," from græs "grass" (see grass).

"touch," 1604, perhaps a transferred sense from graze (1) via a notion of cropping grass right down to the ground (cf. Ger. grasen "to feed on grass," used in military sense in ref. to cannonballs that rebound off the ground).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Mega-farms pick money from the pockets of family-scale farmers who graze cattle.
At sunset, hippopotamuses leave the water and travel overland to graze.
People sometimes allow their livestock to graze in the reserve itself, though
  it is illegal.
The free-range lambs graze on everything from sagebrush to alpine herbs, which
  makes them lean and flavorful.
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