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

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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 energy efficiency kit includes two three-way LEDs lightbulbs, three LED night lights, one filter whistle and a seven-outlet advanced power strip. cleveland, "FirstEnergy customer skeptical of ‘no-fee’ energy efficiency kit offer: Money Matters," 23 Feb. 2020 The Indiana Department of Environmental Management says such wetlands filter water, alleviate flooding and provide a habitat for wildlife. Chris Sikich, Indianapolis Star, "Lawmaker wants to deregulate wetlands. Her family once was cited for bulldozing them.," 17 Feb. 2020 The assessment also includes an interview and education component with occupants and the offer of water testing and water filters. Alison Dirr, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "How Milwaukee mayoral candidates plan to address some of the city's pressing issues," 14 Feb. 2020 In addition to blocking websites, government censors were increasingly using filters to block keywords. New York Times, "Her Uighur Parents Were Model Chinese Citizens. It Didn’t Matter.," 29 Jan. 2020 Do not use so many filters that your nose and/or other facial features appear to be missing. Wendi Aarons, The New Yorker, "Tips for Middle-Aged Women on How to Look Stunning in Photos," 9 Jan. 2020 The company is also tweaking its ad library so people can search for exact phrases and to limit their search results using filters such as ad-audience size, dates and regions reached. Barbara Ortutay, Anchorage Daily News, "Facebook’s new rules won’t limit how politicians target ads or lie to voters," 9 Jan. 2020 Baleen whales suck in mouthfuls of water and extract small organisms such as krill, using fibrous buccal filters. The Economist, "How cetaceans got so large," 14 Dec. 2019 With help from their Realtor, Rieck pored over MLS listings of ranches, using filters to sort prospects that fit their criteria. Mark Samuelson, The Denver Post, "A rush on ranches: Colorado’s attractions makes it a popular retirement target, but the sooner you start looking, the better," 27 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Silver Sheen’ has an open, airy habit that allows light to filter through. Thad Orr, Sunset Magazine, "Your Essential Winter Gardening To-Do List," 10 Feb. 2020 Pieces of the Escala's design have begun to filter down to the Cadillac lineup, but the true production form of that show car won't arrive as a chauffeur-worthy sedan. Annie White, Car and Driver, "2021 Cadillac Escalade Gets Even Bigger and Bolder," 5 Feb. 2020 Reports of 300-pounders are filtering out of the cypress-gum bottomlands. The Editors, Field & Stream, "Everything You Need to Know About Hog Hunting," 13 Jan. 2020 The firefighting foam flowed through the plant, which is not equipped to filter out PFAS, and into the river. Gregory B. Hladky, courant.com, "Windsor warns Bradley crash could lead to more PFAS pollution in Farmington River," 2 Oct. 2019 The top roof has a garden made to filter rainwater, reduce storm runoff, increase fire resistance and enhance the uphill neighbor’s green view. Janet Eastman, oregonlive, "Cannon Beach house with a garden roof was born to be green," 22 Sep. 2019 To gently filter sunlight, hang sheer white curtains that will billow in the breeze. Jessica Dailey, ELLE Decor, "How to Turn Your Bedroom Into a Coastal Italian Retreat," 10 Sep. 2019 The design team consults the trend books and travels the world, but returns to filter their ideas through a strictly classic Italian perspective. Olivia Martin, Town & Country, "Italian Fashion House Fabiana Filippi is Not Interested in Trends," 13 Aug. 2019 News soon filtered through that ISWAP had claimed the attack. Nicolas Niarchos, Time, "Boko Haram Refugees Find Safety in Niger. But How Long Can the Country Remain a Safe Haven in the Sahel?," 30 Jan. 2020

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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Time Traveler for filter

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for filter

Last Updated

26 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Filter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/filter. Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for filter

filter

noun
How to pronounce filter (audio)

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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Comments on filter

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