1400–50; late Middle English; see graze1, -ing1 Unabridged


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


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]

grazing (ˈɡreɪzɪŋ)
1.  the vegetation on pastures that is available for livestock to feed upon
2.  the land on which this is growing

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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Slang Dictionary

graze definition

and browse
  1. in.
    to eat a bit of everything at parties. : We will just graze on party snacks rather than eat a full meal. , I think I'll just browse here and skip going out to dinner.
Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears.Fourth Edition.
Copyright 2007. Published by McGraw-Hill Education.
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Example sentences
The initiative is an important step forward, but it fails to confront the
  sacred cow of forest management: livestock grazing.
Evacuated ranchers are worrying about the livestock they left behind without
  grazing pasture.
Farmers cut forests to provide more room for planting crops or grazing
Because their grazing range is limited, they have been unable to enlarge their
  herds to match their growing population.
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