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.
- win·now·er, noun
- un·win·nowed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use winnow in a sentence
The blasts of adversity were necessary to winnow the spurious and false away, and to leave the tried and true behind.The Catacombs of Rome | William Henry Withrow
The corn thrashed out is cleared away by the men, others winnow it, others heap it, others supply fresh layers.
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
Wer't nae for thy girning face I would knock the big, winnow the corn, and grun the meal!The Science of Fairy Tales | Edwin Sidney Hartland
This seems unlikely, unless it can be shown that Winwaloe and winnow or Winoc were the same person.The Cornwall Coast | Arthur L. Salmon
British Dictionary definitions for winnow
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
- winnower, noun
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