Simple Definition of sift
: to put (flour, sugar, etc.) through a sifter or sieve
: to separate or remove (something) by using a sifter or sieve
: to go through (something) very carefully in order to find something useful or valuable
Full Definition of sift
1a : to put through a sieve <sift flour>b : to separate or separate out by or as if by putting through a sieve
2 : to go through especially to sort out what is useful or valuable <sifted the evidence> —often used with through <sift through a pile of old letters>
3 : to scatter by or as if by sifting <sift sugar on a cake>
1 : to use a sieve
2 : to pass or fall as if through a sieve
Examples of sift in a sentence
Sift the flour into a mixing bowl.
Sift the lumps from the sugar.
The police sifted the evidence in hopes of finding a clue.
The police sifted for clues.
The lawyer sifted through the hundreds of pages of testimony.
Firefighters sifted through the debris.
Origin and Etymology of sift
Middle English, from Old English siftan; akin to Old English sife sieve
First Known Use: before 12th century
SIFT Defined for Kids
Definition of sift for Students
1 : to pass or cause to pass through a sieve <sift flour>
2 : to separate or separate out by or as if by passing through a sieve <I sifted the lumps.>
3 : to test or examine carefully <Police will sift through the evidence.>
Seen and Heard
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