- to free (grain) from the lighter particles of chaff, dirt, etc., especially by throwing it into the air and allowing the wind or a forced current of air to blow away impurities.
- to drive or blow (chaff, dirt, etc.) away by fanning.
- to blow upon; fan.
- to subject to some process of separating or distinguishing; analyze critically; sift: to winnow a mass of statements.
- to separate or distinguish (valuable from worthless parts) (sometimes followed by out): to winnow falsehood from truth.
- to pursue (a course) with flapping wings in flying.
- to fan or stir (the air) as with the wings in flying.
- to free grain from chaff by wind or driven air.
- to fly with flapping wings; flutter.
- a device or contrivance used for winnowing.
- an act of winnowing.
Origin of winnow
Examples from the Web for winnow
These had lived there so long as to be able to winnow the chaff and throw the refuse off.Four Years in Rebel Capitals
T. C. DeLeon
I winnow him; and if nothing but chaff results, whose fault is that?A Budget of Paradoxes, Volume II (of II)
Augustus de Morgan
This very night he is going to winnow barley on the threshing-floor.The Children's Bible
Henry A. Sherman
Water is then poured over her head three times through the winnow.Castes and Tribes of Southern India
He has sown, but he has also to reap; and if reaping is done, he has to thresh and to winnow.Talks To Farmers
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
- to separate (grain) from (chaff) by means of a wind or current of air
- (tr) to examine in order to select the desirable elements
- (tr) archaic to beat (the air) with wings
- (tr) rare to blow upon; fan
- a device for winnowing
- the act or process of winnowing
Word Origin and History for winnow
Old English windwian, from wind "air in motion, paring down," see wind (n.1). Cognate with Old Norse vinza, Old High German winton "to fan, winnow," Gothic diswinþjan "to throw (grain) apart," Latin vannus "winnowing fan."