filter

noun
fil·​ter | \ ˈfil-tər How to pronounce filter (audio) \

Definition of filter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a porous article or mass (as of paper or sand) through which a gas or liquid is passed to separate out matter in suspension
b : an apparatus containing a filter medium
2a : a device or material for suppressing or minimizing waves or oscillations of certain frequencies (as of electricity, light, or sound)
b : a transparent material (such as colored glass) that absorbs light of certain wavelengths or colors selectively and is used for modifying light that reaches a sensitized photographic material

called also color filter

3 : something that has the effect of a filter (as by holding back elements or modifying the appearance of something) his work is too often viewed through the filter of race— Brent Staples
4 : software for sorting or blocking access to certain online material

filter

verb
filtered; filtering\ ˈfil-​t(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce filtering (audio) \

Definition of filter (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to subject to the action of a filter
2 : to remove by means of a filter

intransitive verb

1 : to pass or move through or as if through a filter
2 : to come or go in small units over a period of time people began filtering in

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Synonyms for filter

Synonyms: Verb

screen, strain

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Examples of filter in a Sentence

Noun

She smokes cigarettes with filters. He placed a red filter on the camera lens. digital filters that stop high-frequency sounds

Verb

They've begun filtering their water to remove impurities. a device that filters impurities from water sunglasses that filter ultraviolet light Sunlight filtered through the leaves. His ideas have filtered down to his children. The crowd filtered into the arena. Early election returns have begun to filter in.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Starting with a comparatively small 6.4mm dynamic driver in each bud, the E5000s pump sound into a tiny cavity, through an acoustic filter, into a second chamber, and into the listener’s ear. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "Final E5000 review: delicate bass cannons," 11 June 2019 Part of the problem is that the supposed authenticity is projected and produced through social media platforms, which themselves are constructed upon filters, upon the idea of curation—upon a certain inauthenticity. Hanna Kozlowska, Quartz, "Can influencers and authenticity ever be compatible?," 1 June 2019 The researchers noted the hand dryers did not have the HEPA [high-efficiency particulate air] filters that come in most Dyson models. Kathleen Joyce, Fox News, "Bathroom hand dryers spraying poop on your hands, study finds," 14 Apr. 2018 Light bulbs may have to be swapped, and filters installed on blinds over windows. Sarah Klein, Health.com, "Bella Thorne Is Bringing Awareness to Xeroderma Pigmentosum in 'Midnight Sun'—but What Is This Rare Condition?," 6 Mar. 2018 The exhibit gave me the impression that Kahlo would have felt at home in today’s world of selfies and photo filters and would have definitely been an Instagram queen. Lillian Dondero, ELLE Decor, "Fashionably Late: An Editor's Take on the Frida Kahlo Exhibit in Brooklyn," 27 Mar. 2019 From Snapchat filters and editing apps to the perfect lighting and ideal angle, there are dozens of tricks people deploy to look their best in photos. Michelle Gant, Fox News, "'Selfie awareness' has millennials turning to double chin removal procedures," 21 Sep. 2018 Post-title-card, North appears in a long, white hallway dancing to the hit song with layered technicolor filters adding flair to the overall vibe. Teen Vogue, "North West Made Her Own Adorable Music Video for Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road"," 15 May 2019 Technicolor filters flash across the scene while West is on the ground high-kicking the air and smizing at the camera. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "North West Stars in Her First Music Video Featuring Kim Kardashian," 15 May 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

And that oil plunge has yet to filter through to retail gasoline prices, which move with a lag. Matt Egan, CNN, "What the Gulf tanker attacks mean for oil and gas prices," 13 June 2019 Scientists have developed a variety of methods to filter and identify plastics in the environment. Evan Bush, The Seattle Times, "Average Americans eat, inhale thousands of tiny plastic pieces every year, study says," 6 June 2019 Which brings us back to the quiet little pop-up shop in the Marais district, where friends and family have begun to filter in for cocktails and petit fours, including designers such as Olivier Rousteing and Simon Porte Jacquemus. Chioma Nnadi, Vogue, "Rihanna on Her Debut Fenty Collection—And Making History Two-Times Over," 23 May 2019 Now, those trade tensions and global factors appear to be filtering into the U.S. economy. Sharon Nunn, WSJ, "Business Investment Falters Amid Growing Global Economic Uncertainty," 21 Feb. 2019 McDonalds also promised to filter pornography from its Wi-Fi networks in 2016. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Starbucks will begin filtering pornography from its Wi-Fi networks," 29 Nov. 2018 Swedish Design Museum Design trends and architectural movements usually take years, if not decades, to filter down from private residences into home museums or exhibitions. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Open houses become real-time design museums in Sweden," 7 Nov. 2018 The bill would also require the Education Department to make resources available to parents that will show them how to install free internet filters on home computers to filter out pornography. Wilborn P. Nobles Iii, NOLA.com, "House committee passes bill to protect students from porn," 25 Apr. 2018 Maybe these memories are so painful that filtering them through fiction is the only way to muffle the hammer blows to our consciences. New York Times, "Readers Respond to the 4.29.18 Issue," 11 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'filter.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of filter

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1576, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for filter

Noun

Middle English filtre, from Medieval Latin filtrum piece of felt used as a filter, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German filz felt — more at felt

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Statistics for filter

Last Updated

18 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for filter

The first known use of filter was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for filter

filter

noun

English Language Learners Definition of filter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a device that is used to remove something unwanted from a liquid or gas that passes through it
: a device that prevents some kinds of light, sound, electronic noises, etc., from passing through
computers : software that prevents someone from looking at or receiving particular kinds of material through the Internet

filter

verb

English Language Learners Definition of filter (Entry 2 of 2)

: to pass (something, such as a gas or liquid) through a filter to remove something unwanted
: to remove (something unwanted) by using a filter
: to move through or into something in small amounts or in a gradual way

filter

noun
fil·​ter | \ ˈfil-tər How to pronounce filter (audio) \

Kids Definition of filter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a device or a mass of material (as sand or paper) with tiny openings through which a gas or liquid is passed to remove something The filter removes dust from the air.
2 : a transparent material that absorbs light of some colors and is used for changing light (as in photography)

filter

verb
filtered; filtering

Kids Definition of filter (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to pass through a filter filter water
2 : to remove by means of a filter Sand helps filter impurities from water.

filter

noun
fil·​ter | \ ˈfil-tər How to pronounce filter (audio) \

Medical Definition of filter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a porous article or mass (as of paper or sand) through which a gas or liquid is passed to separate out matter in suspension
2 : an apparatus containing a filter medium
3a : a device or material for suppressing or minimizing waves or oscillations of certain frequencies (as of electricity, light, or sound)
b : a transparent material (as colored glass) that absorbs light of certain wavelengths or colors selectively and is used for modifying light that reaches a sensitized photographic material

called also color filter

filter

verb
filtered; filtering\ -​t(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce filtering (audio) \

Medical Definition of filter (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to subject to the action of a filter
2 : to remove by means of a filter

intransitive verb

: to pass or move through or as if through a filter

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More from Merriam-Webster on filter

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with filter

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for filter

Spanish Central: Translation of filter

Nglish: Translation of filter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of filter for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about filter

Comments on filter

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