- 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 winnowing
Winnowing down countless artifacts to compile A History of New York in 101 Objects was challenging enough.We All Have a Rosebud in Our Pasts
October 15, 2014
Winnowing it down to the 10 best series was a near-impossible task.The Best TV Shows of 2013: ‘Orange Is the New Black,’ ‘Breaking Bad’ and More
December 13, 2013
Each one represents the endpoint of a long process of winnowing, pruning and perfecting, driven entirely by the market.Consider the Washing Machine
September 28, 2012
Well, it performs more of a winnowing function in GOP contests, where the evangelical vote can be as high as 40 percent.Iowa Caucuses Are as Distorted as a Funhouse Mirror
January 2, 2012
It should not be winnowing candidates at this stage in the game.GOP Players’ Iowa Test
August 11, 2011
Do not our household servants talk of sifting, straining, winnowing?Sophist
Well, after that, Ischomachus, we will proceed to cleanse the corn by winnowing.The Economist
There was Hilary in the barn with his men, as busy as they could well be, winnowing oats.Round About a Great Estate
The older women are winnowing grain and grinding at the metate.The Arrow-Maker
After drying, they are brought to the hulling and winnowing machines.All About Coffee
William H. Ukers
- 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 winnowing
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."