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

The filter is easily accessible for cleaning and replacing as needed. Rachel Rothman, Good Housekeeping, "The Best Humidifiers to Buy This Winter," 20 Dec. 2018 Conversion Trader lets users filter by type of camper design, whether or not a vehicle is new or used, and proximity to your location. Megan Barber, Curbed, "New website helps you buy a conversion van," 23 Aug. 2018 The filters are tissue paper and your phoneless kid mingles with phone-equipped kids every day. Carolyn Hax, The Seattle Times, "When is the best time to have ‘the talk’ with kids?," 23 Apr. 2018 They aren’t born with prejudice, hatred or any of those other toxic filters. George Diaz, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Orlando Little League reunion offers perfect pitch of colorblind history," 10 Apr. 2018 While black and white filters are all the rage on Instagram and Facebook, interest in black and white film has been dwindling for some time—and now FujiFilm is pulling the plug on the once popular line. Chris Morris, Fortune, "FujiFilm Is Killing Off Black & White Film and Photographic Paper," 9 Apr. 2018 Our conversation turns to social media when Rice tells me Snapchat filters were one of the inspirations for his digital sculpture. Shauna Stuart, AL.com, "Vibes and Virtues: Five hours in artist Carey Fountain's America," 21 July 2017 Showing what’s real with no filter and certainly with no shame. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Lili Reinhart Gives Speech About Body Image at Glamour's 2018 Women of the Year Summit," 11 Nov. 2018 Showing what’s real with no filter and certainly with no shame. Glamour, "If You've Ever Struggled With Body Image, Lili Reinhart Has a Message for You," 11 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

To the contrary, scarce or expensive capital helps filter out bad ideas and improve imperfect ones. Amar Bhidé, WSJ, "Stock-Market Volatility Can Be Good for the Economy," 24 Dec. 2018 Wellness trends come and go, but there’s a lot to be said for the vigor of collaborative wisdom filtered through the ages and delivered with passion. Daisy Finer, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Golden Door Is the World's Most Iconic Spa," 21 Dec. 2018 Here are some of the best deals, filtered through a Popular Mechanics lens. Maude Campbell, Popular Mechanics, "Amazon's Best Black Friday Deals (So Far)," 22 Nov. 2018 Know How to Hack Pruning can allow more sunlight and air to filter through the trees and shrubs, which can help keep them healthy. Leah Zerbe, Good Housekeeping, "Why You Should Stop Pruning Your Garden in the Fall," 8 Aug. 2018 All of the galleries have portal holes that filter sunlight from above into the underground space. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Otherworldly new museum is built into a sand dune," 17 Dec. 2018 The matters of this world and the next, intimations of spirituality and the supernatural: Somehow these concerns have started to filter into the imagery of fashion. Sarah Mower, Vogue, "The Top 9 Collections of London Fashion Week Spring 2019," 19 Sep. 2018 After the final whistle, when most of the fans had filtered back out into the boiling midday sun, Gerard Juarez stayed in his seat. Henry Gass, The Christian Science Monitor, "In border town, World Cup watchers balance team pride, anxiety about US," 29 June 2018 Students and their families filtered into the chapel at the New Psalmist Baptist Church. Talia Richman, baltimoresun.com, "'You couldn't have been a better gift': Thousands gather for funeral of University of Maryland football player," 20 June 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

15 Jan 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 \

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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