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90s Slang You Should Know


[sift] /sɪft/
verb (used with object)
to separate and retain the coarse parts of (flour, ashes, etc.) with a sieve.
to scatter or sprinkle through or by means of a sieve:
to sift sugar onto cake.
to separate by or as if by a sieve.
to examine closely:
The detectives are still sifting the evidence.
to question closely.
verb (used without object)
to sift something.
to pass or fall through or as if through a sieve.
Origin of sift
before 900; Middle English siften, Old English siftan; cognate with Dutch, Middle Low German siften; akin to sieve
Related forms
outsift, verb (used with object)
presift, verb (used with object)
resift, verb (used with object)
unsifted, adjective
4. sort, scrutinize, inspect, search, probe. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for unsifted
Historical Examples
  • His jeans were torn and his cotton shirt was in rags, but his grit was unsifted.

    Partners of Chance Henry Herbert Knibbs
  • Into four of them, while cold, ordinary unheated and unsifted air was pumped.

  • It was on these unsifted assumptions that the Governments of the allied Powers went to work.

    England and Germany Emile Joseph Dillon
  • She had so many dreams to dream over, such an unsifted store.

    The Rainbow D. H. (David Herbert) Lawrence
  • Bake the meal into bread by mixing it, unsifted, with sour milk, and adding a little soda and pepper.

  • The meal is often unsifted and sour, and the meat such as in the North is consigned to the soap-maker.

    Martyria Augustus C. Hamlin
  • unsifted means one who has not nicely canvassed and examined the peril of her situation.

    Hamlet William Shakespeare
  • In like manner they sift cochineal, and sell it at a less price than what is unsifted.

  • Theophilus Thistle, the thistle-sifter, sifted a sieve of unsifted thistles.

    Public Speaking Clarence Stratton
  • Inquiry and doubt are silenced by citation of ancient laws or a multitude of miscellaneous and unsifted cases.

    How We Think John Dewey
British Dictionary definitions for unsifted


(transitive) to sieve (sand, flour, etc) in order to remove the coarser particles
to scatter (something) over a surface through a sieve
(transitive) to separate with or as if with a sieve; distinguish between
(transitive) to examine minutely: to sift evidence
(intransitive) to move as if through a sieve
Derived Forms
sifter, noun
Word Origin
Old English siftan; related to Middle Low German siften to sift, Dutch ziften; see sieve
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for unsifted



Old English siftan "pass (something) through a sieve," from Proto-Germanic *sib- (cf. Dutch ziften, Middle Low German sichten, German sichten "to sift;" see sieve (n.)). Intransitive sense "to pass loosely or fall scatteredly" is from 1590s. Metaphoric sense of "look carefully through" first recorded 1530s. Related: Sifted; sifting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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