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 race Brent 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

Example Sentences

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
McNally’s lack of a filter is a large part of why scandal seems to follow him everywhere. Sam Stone, Bon Appétit, 24 Oct. 2022 Like the spin direction of an electron, the polarization of a photon can take on one of two values relative to the orientation of a filter. Charlie Wood, Quanta Magazine, 4 Oct. 2022 That kind of no-filter, no-layered relationship has been really great, not just for us but for the talent. Jennifer Maas, Variety, 7 Sep. 2022 All are boxy, sometimes expensive appliances that help correct issues with your air quality with the help of some form of filter. Daniel Varghese, WSJ, 4 Aug. 2022 People with front-loaders have one other place to clean: a compartment at the base of the machine where water collects around a filter that protects the pump. Jeanne Huber, Washington Post, 23 May 2022 The dropping of the filter was a refreshing reprieve from the typical euphemisms. Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review, 16 May 2022 And one of the unintended effects has been the beginning of the end of the workplace filter. Molly Longman, refinery29.com, 21 Apr. 2022 However, this lack of a filter also leads to platforms being flooded with copies. Kamayani Sharma, Quartz, 12 Apr. 2022
Verb
Sullivan says that Google’s continued efforts filter out about 99 percent, but the volume of malicious and spammy content is ever increasing. Omar L. Gallaga, WIRED, 21 Nov. 2022 This dry air will filter into all corners of the East Bay, spreading east of I-680 into cities like Antioch, Brentwood and Walnut Creek. Gerry Díaz, San Francisco Chronicle, 19 Nov. 2022 Also, users can filter EV chargers that support a particular plug type. Chris Smith, BGR, 17 Nov. 2022 For whatever reason, Google did filter out significantly more emails from right-wing campaigns, while Outlook filtered out the majority of all political emails, and Yahoo filtered out slightly more emails from left-wing candidates. Kaitlyn Tiffany, The Atlantic, 4 Nov. 2022 Wariness among some German officials over the country’s closeness with China could filter into a more restrictive trade policy, though economic cooperation is still in both parties’ interests. Michelle Toh, CNN, 3 Nov. 2022 This will filter through to the Main Street economy in short order, especially because British mortgage rates are fixed for much shorter terms than their American counterparts. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 3 Nov. 2022 But the technique might eventually filter down to household robotics. Benj Edwards, Ars Technica, 19 Oct. 2022 These numbers filter out garbage time reps, focusing only on best-vs-best opportunities. Nathan Baird, cleveland, 13 Oct. 2022 See More

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.

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 5 Dec. 2022.

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

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