sift

verb

sifted; sifting; sifts

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

Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Sift the lumps from the sugar. The police sifted the evidence in hopes of finding a clue. The police sifted for clues. The lawyer sifted through the hundreds of pages of testimony. Firefighters sifted through the debris.
Recent Examples on the Web When a windrow is sufficiently broken down, it’s sifted for debris, including larger pieces of organic material and contaminants like plastic. Nicole Blanchard, Idaho Statesman, 9 Apr. 2024 To piece together Pierson's crimes and capture, The Courier Journal sifted through court files and transcripts and traveled to Arkansas and Oklahoma to interview agents, prosecutors and the surprising tipster who exposed Pierson's scheme. Beth Warren, USA TODAY, 6 Apr. 2024 According to the report, the tool, trained by Israeli military data scientists, sifted through a huge trove of surveillance data and other information to generate targets for assassination. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, 5 Apr. 2024 Indeed introduced a new AI tool to expedite hiring tasks, like drafting emails and sifting through applicants, saving recruiters on average six hours a week. Emma Burleigh, Fortune, 4 Apr. 2024 Press one button to find filters, and use the arrows to sift through them and find your favorite. Alesandra Dubin, Parents, 20 Mar. 2024 Our team of Glamour shopping editors sifted through hundreds of deals to find the ones that are truly worth your coins. Andrea Navarro, Glamour, 20 Mar. 2024 At the same time, with the explosion of available data and signals for sourcing, VC and PE investors are deploying AI to sift through the information to uncover great founders and startups before their peers. Ray Zhou, Forbes, 28 Mar. 2024 Be sure to sift together the dry ingredients for optimal fluffiness and height. Katlyn Moncada, Better Homes & Gardens, 26 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sift.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of sift was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near sift

Cite this Entry

“Sift.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sift. Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

sift

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
sift evidence
sift through a pile of papers
sifter noun

More from Merriam-Webster on sift

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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