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

screen, strain

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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

Post-title-card, North appears in a long, white hallway dancing to the hit song with layered technicolor filters adding flair to the overall vibe. Teen Vogue, "North West Made Her Own Adorable Music Video for Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road"," 15 May 2019 Technicolor filters flash across the scene while West is on the ground high-kicking the air and smizing at the camera. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "North West Stars in Her First Music Video Featuring Kim Kardashian," 15 May 2019 Like their chlorinated counterparts, natural pools usually have filters which will need to be cleaned regularly. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "Should You Put a Natural Swimming Pool In Your Backyard?," 6 May 2019 That philosophy extends to her skin, which she's been baring on Instagram lately with no makeup and no filter. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Ciara Is "So Proud" of Growing Out Her Hair After Relaxer Damage," 30 Apr. 2019 The solution is simple: Sleep with an air filter in your bedroom to zap dust particles. Baze Mpinja, Marie Claire, "Have Sensitive Skin? Do These 4 Things Before Bed," 8 Mar. 2019 Common allergens include ingredients such as fragrance, benzophenone-UV filters (used in many makeup products that contain sunscreen), and preservatives like lanolin, Dr. Elliott says. Jessica Toscano, SELF, "Here's What It Means If You Got a Skin Reaction From Your Makeup," 1 Mar. 2019 Swift's Instagram story with soccer star Alex Morgan also debuted a new 4.26 filter that is designed to match her whole new, sparky vibe. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Taylor Swift Took Her Heels Off During Her Time 100 Performance, and Honestly, Same," 24 Apr. 2019 Fill the reservoir with equal parts vinegar and water, and place a paper filter into the machine's empty basket. Lauren Smith, Good Housekeeping, "How to Clean a Coffee Maker, According to Cleaning Experts," 4 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Rooms are stunning and have every amenity luxury travelers expect, like Wifi, filtered water bottles, french press coffee, bathrobes, toiletries, and a minibar. Lindsay Silberman, Town & Country, "How to Plan a Safari in Kenya: A Beginner's Guide," 14 Nov. 2018 Their pain is filtered and saturated for mass consumption, by a public ravenous for stories that affirm its sense of how brutal and ugly the country has become. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "Kiri Is a British Import Worth Watching," 12 Apr. 2018 Often, those are filtered out by our energy efficient window glass. OregonLive.com, "Help! My tomatoes are dying: Ask an expert," 31 Mar. 2018 The stands were mostly empty, having filtered out considerably after the preceding game featuring Whitnall and Waunakee at the Wisconsin Basketball Yearbook Shootout in Mequon on Dec. 27. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Greendale basketball player Vlado Zrnic has unique Serbian heritage, uncommon work ethic and eye-popping stats," 5 Jan. 2018 Glassdoor allows users to filter out certain employee categories, such as interns and contractors. Andrea Fuller, WSJ, "How Companies Secretly Boost Their Glassdoor Ratings," 22 Jan. 2019 Radar to spot and track aircraft is designed to filter out small, slow objects, which were previously most likely to be birds, so special sensors are needed for drones. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, "What Are Airports Going to Do About Drones?," 9 Jan. 2019 Aldi managed to catch fish and drink sea water through clothing in order to filter out some of the salt, The Telegraph reported. Edmund Demarche, Fox News, "Indonesian teen survives 49 days adrift without paddle, but with Bible: report," 24 Sep. 2018 Many broad-spectrum sunscreens pair the ingredient with others that filter out UVB light. Allure, "The Skin-Care Glossary: A Comprehensive Guide to Everything You Need to Know," 17 Aug. 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

Statistics for filter

Last Updated

21 May 2019

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 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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More from Merriam-Webster on filter

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with filter

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for filter

Spanish Central: Translation of filter

Nglish: Translation of filter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of filter for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about filter

Comments on filter

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