sift

verb \ ˈsift \
Updated on: 20 Nov 2017

Definition of sift

transitive verb
1 a : to put through a sieve
  • sift flour
b : to separate or separate out by or as if by putting through a sieve
2 : to go through especially to sort out what is useful or valuable
  • sifted the evidence
often used with through
  • sift through a pile of old letters
3 : to scatter by or as if by sifting
  • sift sugar on a cake
intransitive verb
1 : to use a sieve
2 : to pass or fall as if through a sieve

sifter

noun

Examples of sift in a Sentence

  1. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl.

  2. Sift the lumps from the sugar.

  3. The police sifted the evidence in hopes of finding a clue.

  4. The police sifted for clues.

  5. The lawyer sifted through the hundreds of pages of testimony.

  6. Firefighters sifted through the debris.

Recent Examples of sift from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sift.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of sift

Middle English, from Old English siftan; akin to Old English sife sieve


SIFT Defined for English Language Learners

sift

verb

Definition of sift for English Language Learners

  • : to put (flour, sugar, etc.) through a sifter or sieve

  • : to separate or remove (something) by using a sifter or sieve

  • : to go through (something) very carefully in order to find something useful or valuable


SIFT Defined for Kids

sift

verb \ ˈsift \

Definition of sift for Students

sifted; sifting
1 : to pass or cause to pass through a sieve
  • sift flour
2 : to separate or separate out by or as if by passing through a sieve
  • I sifted the lumps.
3 : to test or examine carefully
  • Police will sift through the evidence.

sifter

noun


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