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

The two-tiered pot system consists of a main compartment above, containing your plant and filter, and a water reservoir below. Ann Lien, House Beautiful, "This Planter Takes Care of Your Plant for Three Weeks Straight," 13 Mar. 2019 In the spirit of Halloween, Instagram has released a new, super spooky filter to seriously creep out your friends. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Instagram Just Dropped A New Super Scary Filter and You Need To Try It," 26 Oct. 2018 Inside, light filters through the courtyards and into the rooms, giving the space a soft, diffused glow. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Modern Japanese house tucks in three leafy courtyards," 12 Sep. 2018 To access the filter, simply open up the Instagram Stories camera. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Instagram Just Dropped A New Super Scary Filter and You Need To Try It," 26 Oct. 2018 That means games like Negligee will not show up in a Steam user's recommendations unless the filter is unchecked in the Store Preferences settings. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "The first “100% uncensored” adult game has been approved for Steam release," 11 Sep. 2018 The filters Weppler referenced were scheduled to be installed Thursday. Rick Kambic, chicagotribune.com, "Libertyville pond to be cleaned, waterways inspected after spill at industrial park," 13 July 2018 According to the Tax Foundation, a conservative fiscal watchdog in Washington, D.C., Trump’s trade policy already has the potential to pressure average U.S. wages measurably lower — declining 0.3 percent as the effects filter through. John Schmid, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Trump's global trade war expected to inflict economic causalities in Wisconsin and across nation," 10 July 2018 Ensure the filter’s pore size is small enough to remove bacteria and parasites. Gary Robbins, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Disaster preparedness: How do you make drinking water safe," 8 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

If the weird, cartoonish games are for kids, then a group more realistic Photoshop apps could appeal to teenagers who are already used to filtering their selfies to perfection. Lizzie Plaugic, The Verge, "Inside the surreal, probably inevitable world of plastic surgery apps," 6 Apr. 2018 What was once a last-ditch tactic in death penalty cases is now filtering down through the lesser crimes of the criminal justice system. Alex Kingsbury, BostonGlobe.com, "Big Data: 420 court cases," 9 Mar. 2018 Recent political turmoil in the government has filtered down to cripple some of South Africa’s crime-fighting units, said Senzo Mchunu, the former premier of KwaZulu-Natal. Sam Mkokeli, Bloomberg.com, "Politics Can Be Murderous in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal," 1 Mar. 2018 Photo: Rus Yusupov Employee complaints about Mr. Yusupov’s micromanagement filtered up to the board. Yoree Koh, WSJ, "The Tech Whiz Behind Vine and HQ Trivia Made Millions in His 20s. He Was Dead by 34.," 15 Feb. 2019 After the light cleans the water, the wick filters the air. Stephanie Shore Fisher, Country Living, "The Honeywell HCM350W Humidifier Is Single-Handedly Helping Me Survive the Winter," 12 Feb. 2019 The green-to-violet portion of the light spectrum gets filtered out, while the red, orange, and yellow wavelengths remain. Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "How a Total Lunar Eclipse Works," 18 Jan. 2019 With Chrome 71, Chrome will filter experiences on websites that fall under Google’s definition of abusive. Dani Deahl, The Verge, "Google releases Chrome 71 with features to block abusive ads," 5 Dec. 2018 The grapes are crushed, usually in September, filtered, stirred, strained and stored in large metal or concrete tanks for various periods, then siphoned into oak barrels for aging and blending. Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp, Indianapolis Star, "The Hoosier Gardener: Trip to Bordeaux wine country is an educational experience," 13 July 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

9 Apr 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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