filter

noun
fil·​ter | \ˈfil-tər \

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 \

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

Usually the water filter industry is fear-based, or caution-based, or prepping-based. Jamie Lauren Keiles, Vox, "What doomsday preppers are buying this Black Friday," 21 Nov. 2018 Floor-to-ceiling windows on the lower level filter sunlight into the raw concrete spaces, casting a cool glow over the monochromatic interior. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Alejandro Aravena’s Chilean concrete beauty on the market for $1.5M," 18 Oct. 2018 Verizon, for example, offers a spam filter app that can block calls based on the risk level set by the user. Brooke Crothers, Fox News, "Nearly half all cell phone calls will be scams by 2019, report says," 21 Sep. 2018 Today Coming soon House Judiciary Committee hearing on how Facebook, Google and Twitter filter content on July 17. Derek Hawkins, Washington Post, "The Cybersecurity 202: House Democrats list states with weakest election security in new report," 13 July 2018 In a pair of videos mom Khloé Kardashian shared to her Snapchat account Wednesday, the baby girl — who turns 3 months old on Thursday — is a precious little critter in two different animal-ear filters. Jen Juneau, PEOPLE.com, "Khloé and Kourtney Kardashian Take Their Daughters to 'Baby Class' with Cousin Dream," 11 July 2018 Adidas also made sure the colors in combination with the mesh would stand out no matter how many Valencia and Kelvin filters were thrown on top of the sneaker. Cam Wolf, GQ, "The Rules of the Gym, According to the Hot Dudes of ‘Insecure’," 15 June 2018 Although there’s always the threat of a small child urinating while in the pool, Piattoni said, chemicals and filters keep the water sanitized and safe. Frank Vaisvilas, Daily Southtown, "Southland's public pools hope heat brings crowds of swimmers," 15 June 2018 Ariana revealed the new shoulder-length haircut (and a bunny-face Instagram filter) to fans on social media. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Ariana Grande Got a Shoulder-Length Haircut," 15 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

This technology has now filtered down to even low-end road bikes. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "How bicycles have changed in the last 25 years," 10 Nov. 2018 The plight of the elves, for example, is filtered through Reyla, a gifted young woman who belongs to a coven of assassins. Patricia Hernandez, The Verge, "The Dragon Prince is influenced by Avatar: The Last Airbender in the best ways," 7 Sep. 2018 Frida has reason to cry, though the facts about her circumstances emerge slowly, filtered through her point of view, which is expertly sustained by Simón. Peter Keough, BostonGlobe.com, "Tragedy from a child’s point of view in ‘Summer 1993’," 7 June 2018 The resulting solution of potassium carbonate is filtered and exposed to a slurry of calcium hydroxide. The Economist, "Extracting carbon dioxide from the air is possible. But at what cost?," 7 June 2018 As the light begins to fail in the mouth of the Carrier driveway, the rectangles of sun are replaced by a sepia tone as the light is filtered by dust and exhaust in the post-industrial air. Tom Chiarella And James Lynch, Popular Mechanics, "The Last Shift: What Really Happened To Those Carrier Jobs Trump Saved," 15 May 2018 This trick has filtered up to Republican politicians across the country, which is why Republicans in state legislatures are always trying to ban Sharia law. James Pogue, Outside Online, "The Religious Ideology Driving the Bundy Brothers," 14 May 2018 But despite filtration systems at the tunnel inlet and in the section of the creek that runs through the park, water in the wading area is not fully filtered or treated for human contact. Scott Huddleston, San Antonio Express-News, "Wading, yes, but swimming, no, at new downtown park," 8 May 2018 Now, the recipient’s blood can be filtered to remove the potentially deal-breaking antibodies. Shari Rudavsky, Indianapolis Star, "1 doctor, 2,000+ kidney transplants. If surgeons kept stats, he’d be LeBron James.," 26 Apr. 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

3 Dec 2018

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 \

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 \

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 \

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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