\ ˈsift How to pronounce sift (audio) \
sifted; sifting; sifts

Definition of sift

transitive verb

1a : 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

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Other Words from sift

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Star Tribune, 14 July 2021 Workers sift and dig through the twelve stories of rubble and debris using their own hands, as well as shovels, saws, backhoes, and cranes. Stephania Taladrid, The New Yorker, 3 July 2021 Workers continue to sift through rubble, searching for signs of life as families of the 150 people still missing grow weary of their desperate wait for answers. Laura L. Davis, USA TODAY, 29 June 2021 The measure also allows third parties designated by the legislature to sift through the state's voter database and flag voters for removal. Eric Bradner, CNN, 25 June 2021 The library has chosen three computer science and digital humanities experts to investigate how branches of artificial intelligence such as neural networks and computer vision can help humans sift through some of its millions of digitized items. Sara Castellanos, WSJ, 24 June 2021 The tools in the toolkit of both consumers and media are plenty – a grounding in thorough knowledge, a willingness to step outside comfort zones and echo champers, and the thoughtful deployment of tech tools that can help sift through the onslaught. Aaron Kwittken, Forbes, 4 May 2021 Workers continued to sift through the rubble and listen for signs of life. Christine Fernando, USA TODAY, 29 June 2021 Wall street continued to sift through a wave of tech earnings. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, 30 Apr. 2021

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.

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First Known Use of sift

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

History and Etymology for sift

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

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Time Traveler for sift

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near sift

sifrei torah



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Statistics for sift

Last Updated

18 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sift.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for sift



English Language Learners Definition of sift

: 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


\ ˈsift How to pronounce sift (audio) \
sifted; sifting

Kids Definition of sift

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.

Other Words from sift

sifter noun

More from Merriam-Webster on sift

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sift

Nglish: Translation of sift for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sift for Arabic Speakers


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