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 filter (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 Another good masking strategy is buying cloth masks with a replaceable filter, Gandhi said. Los Angeles Times, "Need a hug or a dinner party? Here’s what you can do if you’re fully vaccinated," 25 Feb. 2021 At least Woodward didn’t show up with a cat filter over his face, which appears to be all the rage these days. Evan Grant, Dallas News, "In a spring training unlike any other, Rangers are preaching flexibility, patience," 17 Feb. 2021 The lawyer who was struggling with the filter handled it beautifully. Mark Dunphy, San Antonio Express-News, "'I'm not a cat': West Texas attorney's Zoom court mishap goes viral," 9 Feb. 2021 What about the best stainless steel water bottle with a filter? Outdoor Life, "Best Stainless Steel Water Bottle: Stay Hydrated on the Go," 22 Jan. 2021 On the first day of CES, the Korean consumer tech giant LG touted a slew of air purifiers, including a face mask with an electronic filter. Boone Ashworth, Wired, "It's a Big Year for ‘Clean Tech’ at CES," 12 Jan. 2021 The middle layer will have an anti-bacterial filter. Lauren Levy, NBC News, "How to buy the best disposable face mask, according to experts," 5 Jan. 2021 Each building has a separate filter, meaning some schools must input several different buildings worth of data. Hannah Reed, chicagotribune.com, "Indiana unveils new dashboard to track coronavirus in schools across state," 1 Oct. 2020 The online platform Hipcamp has a specific filter for sites available this weekend. Patrick Connolly, orlandosentinel.com, "Labor Day in Orlando: Ways to relax this holiday weekend around Central Florida," 4 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But the army seems serious about setting up a digital fence to more aggressively filter what people see and do online. New York Times, "A Digital Firewall in Myanmar, Built With Guns and Wire Cutters," 23 Feb. 2021 The Forest Preserve District of Kane County website allows the user to filter by amenities, including bike and nature trails. Annie Alleman, chicagotribune.com, "Chicago suburbs offer opportunities for outdoor ice skating, hiking," 22 Dec. 2020 Both masks are meant to filter out 95% of air particles, but KN95s are held to the Chinese government’s quality standard, while N95s are regulated by the United States government. Danielle Echeverria, SFChronicle.com, "With N-95s scarce, what masks can protect you from both smoke and COVID-19?," 20 Aug. 2020 However, high altitude clouds will filter out the sun from time to time today. Dallas News, "Warming trend ahead, then a weekend cold front," 2 Feb. 2021 The characters filter their identities through screens, and this filtration allows for no depth, no emotional resonance. Kate Knibbs, Wired, "Two Paths for the Extremely Online Novel," 1 Feb. 2021 However, retailers still face a raft of new non-tariff barriers stemming from costs and staffing needed to manage extra customs paperwork which, in time, could filter down to the prices paid by shoppers at checkouts. Deirdre Hipwell, Bloomberg.com, "Brexit Deal Hands Business a Mix of Relief, Unwanted Change," 27 Dec. 2020 After a few hours of simmering, filter out the sinew, scraps, and particulate matter by pouring the glue through a cloth. Tim Macwelch, Outdoor Life, "How to Process and Use Animal Sinew," 12 Oct. 2020 Your lymph nodes, which are connected to each other, filter out substances that travel through your lymphatic fluid, the NCI explains. Health.com, "Are Swollen Glands a Sign of COVID-19? Here's What Doctors Say," 1 Oct. 2020

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

28 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Filter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/filter. Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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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 filter (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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