separate wheat from chaff
Sort the valuable from the worthless, as in I hope we'll get a preview of the auction so we can separate the wheat from the chaff. This idiom alludes to the ancient practice of winnowing grain.
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- separate but equal,
- separate school,
- separate the men from the boys,
- separate the sheep from the goats,
- separating funnel,
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.