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 center includes research operations of water heater and filter maker A.O. Smith, Badger Meter Inc. and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's School of Freshwater Sciences, as well as dozens of smaller firms and organizations. Tom Daykin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Lagging Walker's Point business park could be getting additional work to help draw more development," 14 Nov. 2019 Digital filters such as those on Instagram can dress up a humdrum photo. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "Try these tips to get great travel photos," 10 Nov. 2019 Hiding like counts is just the latest step in Instagram’s quest to become the safest place on the Internet, along with algorithms and filters to remove offensive or divisive comments or pictures. Wired, "Instagram Will Start Hiding ‘Likes’ in the US Next Week," 8 Nov. 2019 There should be a filter in place to catch sand and dirt, which can build up and prevent your washing from getting enough water to function efficiently. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How To Clean Your Washing Machine," 25 Sep. 2019 To an electrical engineer, however, feedback systems are filters and amplifiers. Mike Loukides, Quartz, "The biggest problem with social media has nothing to do with free speech," 24 Sep. 2019 Additionally, there are filters available for home use that will remove lead. Dennis Pillion | Dpillion@al.com, al, "Lead alert issued for East Lauderdale drinking water," 12 Sep. 2019 There are additional filters for those willing to shell out a few extra bucks. Jaclyn Reiss, BostonGlobe.com, "What is FaceApp, the program everyone is using to find out what they’ll look like as an old person?," 17 July 2019 The time has come to have some sort of filter on what is posted out on a social network. Bird Brown, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Bird Brown: It’s time to get in front of social media’s dark side," 15 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The fractured and filtered way the country consumed the testimony — and all news — may have consequences. BostonGlobe.com, "‘Bits and pieces:’ Americans view impeachment on their terms - The Boston Globe," 14 Nov. 2019 The fractured and filtered way the country consumed the testimony — and all news — may have consequences. Washington Post, "‘Bits and pieces’: Americans view impeachment on their terms," 14 Nov. 2019 The fractured and filtered way the country consumed the testimony — and all news — may have consequences. Tamara Lush, Twin Cities, "‘Bits and pieces’: Americans view impeachment on their terms," 13 Nov. 2019 This is the way that a brain filters out superfluous information and prevents an overload of data. The Economist, "In rats, cannabis during pregnancy rewires the brains of offspring," 19 Oct. 2019 Over the past three decades, the EPA and the companies involved in polluting Silicon Valley’s groundwater have filtered and cleaned some of it, but the agency’s website acknowledges that the cleanup will continue for many decades. Tatiana Schlossberg, The Atlantic, "Silicon Valley’s Legacy of Toxic Waste," 22 Sep. 2019 Water is collected from the air-conditioning condensation generated by each room, filtered and used to top off the pool, saving 14,000 gallons of water per month. Michelle Matthews | Mmatthews@al.com, al, "Gulf State Park Lodge is a leader in environmentally friendly design," 10 Sep. 2019 Some carriers offer services to filter calls and send suspected unwanted ones to voice mail. Jesse Naranjo, WSJ, "House Panel Advances Robocall Bill," 25 June 2019 Some of these same limitations apply to social media, due to the algorithm that filters people’s feeds. Joseph Cabosky, The Conversation, "4 reasons why social media election data can misread public opinion," 28 Aug. 2019

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

19 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Filter.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/filtering. Accessed 22 November 2019.

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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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