winnow
I. verb Etymology: Middle English winewen, from Old English windwian to fan, winnow; akin to Old High German wintōn to fan, Latin vannus winnowing fan, ventus wind — more at wind Date: before 12th century transitive verb 1. a. (1) to remove (as chaff) by a current of air (2) to get rid of (something undesirable or unwanted) ; remove — often used with out <
winnow out certain inaccuracies — Stanley Walker
>
b. (1) separate, sift <
an old hand at winnowing what is true and significant — Oscar Lewis
>
(2) select 2. a. to treat (as grain) by exposure to a current of air so that waste matter is eliminated b. to free of unwanted or inferior elements ; pare c. narrow, reduce <
winnowed the field to four contenders
>
3. to blow on ; fan <
the wind winnowing his thin white hair — Time
>
intransitive verb 1. to separate chaff from grain by fanning 2. to separate desirable and undesirable elements • winnower noun II. noun Date: 1580 1. a device for winnowing 2. a. the action of winnowing b. a motion resembling that of winnowing

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Winnow — Win now (w[i^]n n[ o]), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Winnowed} (w[i^]n n[ o]d); p. pr. & vb. n. {Winnowing}.] [OE. windewen, winewen, AS. windwian; akin to Goth. winpjan (in comp.), winpi skauro a fan, L. ventilare to fan, to winnow; cf. L. wannus a fan… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • winnow — [win′ō] vt. [ME winewen < OE windwian, to winnow < wind, WIND2] 1. a) to blow the chaff from (grain) by wind or a forced current of air b) to blow off (chaff) in this manner 2. to blow away; scatter 3. to anal …   English World dictionary

  • Winnow — Win now, v. i. To separate chaff from grain. [1913 Webster] Winnow not with every wind. Ecclus. v. 9. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • winnow — (v.) O.E. windwian, from wind air in motion, paring down, see WIND (Cf. wind) (n.1). Cognate with O.N. vinza, O.H.G. winton to fan, winnow, Goth. diswinþjan to throw (grain) apart, L. vannus winnowing fan …   Etymology dictionary

  • winnow — index cull, distinguish, screen (select), select, separate Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • winnow — ► VERB 1) blow air through (grain) in order to remove the chaff. 2) remove (chaff) from grain. 3) reduce the number in a set of (people or things) gradually until only the best ones are left. ORIGIN Old English, related to WIND(Cf. ↑windless) …   English terms dictionary

  • winnow — win|now [ˈwınəu US nou] v also winnow down [: Old English; Origin: windwian] [T] to make a list, group, or quantity smaller by getting rid of the things that you do not need or want = ↑whittle down ▪ We need to winnow the list of candidates to… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • winnow — UK [ˈwɪnəʊ] / US [ˈwɪnoʊ] verb [transitive] Word forms winnow : present tense I/you/we/they winnow he/she/it winnows present participle winnowing past tense winnowed past participle winnowed to remove the outer cover from grain Phrasal verbs:… …   English dictionary

  • winnow — winnower, n. /win oh/, v.t. 1. to free (grain) from the lighter particles of chaff, dirt, etc., esp. by throwing it into the air and allowing the wind or a forced current of air to blow away impurities. 2. to drive or blow (chaff, dirt, etc.)… …   Universalium

  • winnow — win|now [ wınou ] verb transitive to remove the outer cover from grain ,winnow down phrasal verb transitive to reduce the size of a group of people or things so that you only keep the best or most useful ones ,winnow out phrasal verb transitive… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

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