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

clarify, clear, distill (also distil), fine, purify

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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

Kylie even celebrated the moment on social media in the most Kylie way possible, posting to Snapchat and using the filter that was created for the birth of Khloé's baby. Kara Nesvig, Teen Vogue, "Kylie Jenner Would Like to Remind You Who Khloé Kardashian’s Birthday Is Really About," 29 June 2018 And that's the reason that folks undergoing pipe replacement need to continue using filters and bottled water. Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press, "Crusader for health of Flint kids keeps up fight to heal lead-poisoned city," 24 June 2018 Although using filters is still recommended, the science seems to say Flint water is safe. CBS News, "The Flint water crisis: A loss of trust," 17 June 2018 The club also hosts public sun viewings using special filters on their telescopes one Saturday every month from spring to fall on the Riverwalk, with the next one scheduled for 9 a.m. June 30. Diane Moca, Naperville Sun, "Local astronomy club brings impressive sights to Naperville Riverwalk," 30 May 2018 Does the company care that its algorithms have helped create an informational ecosystem that, with its feeds and filter bubbles, has done much to intensify raw partisanship? Rachel Aviv, The New Yorker, "Cambridge Analytica and a Moral Reckoning in Silicon Valley," 21 Mar. 2018 As Jacob Brogan writes, when filter bubbles break down, irony fails. Rebecca Onion, Slate Magazine, "The Angle: Bad All Around Edition," 9 Jan. 2018 That are many different filters and lenses and perspectives to take into account. Christopher Arnott, courant.com, "Apartheid Drama "A Lesson From Aloes" At Hartford Stage Has Powerful, Relevant Message," 29 May 2018 Under the settlement, the state agreed to provide free bottled water to Flint residents, install water filters in people’s homes and spend nearly $100 million to replace old lead pipes in the city. Kris Maher, WSJ, "Flint Water Tests Show Safe Lead Levels, NRDC Report Says," 13 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Windows and filtered light make for a flattering composition. Madeline Mitchell, Cincinnati.com, "Food photography: How to make your foodstagram insta-famous for the Grand Tasting," 5 June 2018 Air cleaners can be effective though air conditioning is not designed to filter out SO2 gas or particles from the air. Susan Scutti, CNN, "Hawaiian vacation planned but you're worried about air quality? Go.," 10 May 2018 Within days, the network was overwhelmed by a surge of fake news, precisely the kind that human editors were supposed to filter out. Alexander Nazaryan, Newsweek, "Is Silicon Valley Silencing Conservatives on Social Media?," 15 Mar. 2018 Trump’s notion that Sessions is a traitor is beginning to filter down to his loyalists. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "How Trump’s Saturday Night Massacre Might Start With Jeff Sessions," 1 Mar. 2018 Social media can often feel heavily curated with filtered, Photoshopped images galore. Health.com, "These 5 Women Prove That the Flawless Skin You See on Social Media Isn't Real," 30 Jan. 2018 That suggests that the news filtering out of companies is unusually good. Justin Lahart, WSJ, "Don’t Worry About the Earnings Slowdown Yet," 9 July 2018 Like a slow-motion Bay of Fundy, Humboldt Bay completely flushes itself twice a day, ensuring that its waters are super fresh, which the water-filtering oysters appreciate. Richard Stenger, SFChronicle.com, "Everything you need to know about the oyster capital of California," 3 July 2018 The research team plans to break down the Biobank data by coffee preparation type — pressed coffee, versus filtered coffee, for example, to see if that makes any difference to health. NBC News, "Coffee is good for you, more science shows," 2 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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Learn More about filter

Phrases Related to filter

spam filter

Statistics for filter

Last Updated

8 Oct 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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Comments on filter

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