filter

1 of 2

noun

fil·​ter ˈfil-tər How to pronounce filter (audio)
1
a
: 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
2
a
: 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 raceBrent Staples
4
: software for sorting or blocking access to certain online material

filter

2 of 2

verb

filtered; filtering ˈfil-t(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce filter (audio)

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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
The trend gained momentum on social media last year after influencers touted it as a more effective alternative to filters for facial smoothing in photos and videos. Kristina Behr, Parents, 23 Feb. 2024 But then, people have all their social media and their filters. Ariana Yaptangco, Glamour, 21 Feb. 2024 Without a specific solar filter, even looking at any portion of the sun's rays through binoculars, telescopes or camera lenses can result in serious eye damage. USA TODAY, 21 Feb. 2024 Cameras also need special solar filters to safely photograph the eclipse. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 Feb. 2024 Never forget, too, that all our faults, real or perceived, are filters. Carolyn Hax, Washington Post, 18 Feb. 2024 Bins simply collect the compost and use airtight seals and filters to prevent odors. Paige Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, 16 Feb. 2024 This version will feature virtual filters, on-field graphics and guest reporters as well as special appearances by Bikini Bottom’s own SpongeBob SquarePants and Patrick Star. Kelsie Gibson, Peoplemag, 9 Feb. 2024 But the filter can also slow the flow rate if it’s not changed, as sediment builds up inside it. Alden Wicker, WIRED, 10 Feb. 2024
Verb
Even into the late nineteenth century, oysters could filter the entire Chesapeake Bay water column in less than a week. Louise Schiavone, Forbes, 23 Feb. 2024 This included carefully curating the data on which Gemma was trained to filter out any personal information so that the model would not later be able to leak it. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, 21 Feb. 2024 Roy immediately started Jeanne on dialysis, which took over her kidneys’ role of filtering her bloodstream, hopefully giving them a chance to heal themselves. Nathaniel Scharping, Discover Magazine, 16 Feb. 2024 For more than a decade, Navalny fought Russian authoritarianism at the ballot box and on the streets as the most recognizable face of anti-Putinism, filtering support to candidates brave enough to stand against the Kremlin’s wishes. Regina Smyth, The Conversation, 16 Feb. 2024 Factors to Consider When Buying an Air Purifier for Your Baby Coverage Area: The space an air purifier can filter ranges from 50 square feet to over 1,000 square feet. Kelsey Kunik, Parents, 15 Feb. 2024 While some people had begun filtering out of the area, it was still packed with fans – who began to flee in fear after the sound of the shots. Kyle Feldscher, CNN, 14 Feb. 2024 Sun is probably filtered somewhat through high clouds. Ian Livingston, Washington Post, 14 Feb. 2024 Rather than having people filter in and out of your kitchen, you'll be prepared with a spacious cooler. Wendy Vazquez, Better Homes & Gardens, 14 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'filter.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English filtre "felt, felt carpet, piece of felt used as a filter," borrowed from Medieval Latin filtrum "felt cloth, cover or blanket of felt, piece of felt used as a filter," borrowed from *filtir (going back to *filtizō) in a West Germanic language, plural of *filt-, *felt- "felted cloth" — more at felt entry 1

Verb

derivative of filter entry 1

First Known Use

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1576, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near filter

Cite this Entry

“Filter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/filter. Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

filter

1 of 2 noun
fil·​ter ˈfil-tər How to pronounce filter (audio)
1
: a substance with pores through which a gas or liquid is passed to separate out floating matter
2
: a device containing a filter
3
: a transparent material (as colored glass) that absorbs light of some wavelengths and is used to change light (as in photography)

filter

2 of 2 verb
filtered; filtering -t(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce filter (audio)
1
: to expose to the action of a filter
2
: to remove by means of a filter
3
: to pass through or as if through a filter

Medical Definition

filter

1 of 2 noun
fil·​ter ˈfil-tər How to pronounce filter (audio)
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
3
a
: 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

2 of 2 verb
filtered; filtering -t(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce filter (audio)

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

More from Merriam-Webster on filter

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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