[ sift ]
/ sɪft /

verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

to sift something.
to pass or fall through or as if through a sieve.

Nearby words

  1. sieyès,
  2. sieyès, emmanuel joseph,
  3. sif,
  4. sifaka,
  5. sifnos,
  6. sifter,
  7. siftings,
  8. sig,
  9. sig.,
  10. siganid

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sifting

British Dictionary definitions for sifting


/ (sɪft) /


(tr) to sieve (sand, flour, etc) in order to remove the coarser particles
to scatter (something) over a surface through a sieve
(tr) to separate with or as if with a sieve; distinguish between
(tr) to examine minutelyto sift evidence
(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 sifting



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