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
At one point he had 100 counts before winnowing it down to 35.Repubs Should Take It From Kucinich: Impeachment Isn’t Worth It | Eleanor Clift | December 5, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
The natural winnowing process will move more quickly than many fear.What Republicans Need Right Now Is a Good Internal Fight | James Poulos | November 6, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Winnowing down countless artifacts to compile A History of New York in 101 Objects was challenging enough.
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 | Kevin Fallon | December 13, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
A terrible winnowing began: Sunni Muslims to the right, everyone else to the left.
When it has become white and fine, it is placed in a kind of linen winnowing-fan, which is kept damp in a peculiar manner.A Woman's Journey Round the World | Ida Pfeiffer
It is the winnowing fan of death that makes for the development of animal life.Theism or Atheism | Chapman Cohen
A winnowing process—Swartboy's thick lips acting as a fan—was next gone through; and the legs and wings were thus got rid of.Popular Adventure Tales | Mayne Reid
Jud had hardly said this when there came a loud hoot, and the sound of winnowing wings reached them.The Banner Boy Scouts Snowbound | George A. Warren
On the second afternoon, such is effect of rigid winnowing, there were but nine men to ride.The Happy Family | Bertha Muzzy Bower
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