sift

[sift]
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verb (used with object)
  1. to separate and retain the coarse parts of (flour, ashes, etc.) with a sieve.
  2. to scatter or sprinkle through or by means of a sieve: to sift sugar onto cake.
  3. to separate by or as if by a sieve.
  4. to examine closely: The detectives are still sifting the evidence.
  5. to question closely.
verb (used without object)
  1. to sift something.
  2. 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 formsout·sift, verb (used with object)pre·sift, verb (used with object)re·sift, verb (used with object)un·sift·ed, adjective

Synonyms for sift

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


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British Dictionary definitions for sift

sift

verb
  1. (tr) to sieve (sand, flour, etc) in order to remove the coarser particles
  2. to scatter (something) over a surface through a sieve
  3. (tr) to separate with or as if with a sieve; distinguish between
  4. (tr) to examine minutelyto sift evidence
  5. (intr) to move as if through a sieve
Derived Formssifter, noun

Word Origin for sift

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

Word Origin and History for sift
v.

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