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sift

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verb \ˈsift\

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

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1a :  to put through a sieve <sift flour>b :  to separate or separate out by or as if by putting through a sieve

  3. 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>

  4. 3 :  to scatter by or as if by sifting <sift sugar on a cake>

  5. intransitive verb
  6. 1 :  to use a sieve

  7. 2 :  to pass or fall as if through a sieve

sift·er noun

Examples of sift

  1. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl.

  2. Sift the lumps from the sugar.

  3. The police sifted the evidence in hopes of finding a clue.

  4. The police sifted for clues.

  5. The lawyer sifted through the hundreds of pages of testimony.

  6. Firefighters sifted through the debris.



Origin of sift

Middle English, from Old English siftan; akin to Old English sife sieve


First Known Use: before 12th century

Rhymes with sift


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