Definition of sift
1a : to put through a sieve sift flourb : 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
1 : to use a sieve
2 : to pass or fall as if through a sieve
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 of sift from the Web
To compile Beren and Lúthien, the younger Tolkien sifted through his father’s manuscripts and archives, piecing together different iterations of the tale.
Both sides tried to sift out the handful of candidates that might particularly help or hinder their case.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Special Agent Marks: I was placed in charge of the sifting operation, to look for pieces of the device -- biologic material, which is parts of the bombers.
His family, friends and colleagues are left now to sift through this bizarro wreckage —
His family, friends and colleagues are left now to sift through this bizarro wreckage —Rich was, as one friend told me, unlucky twice.
Voters now have a lot to sift through during its year off, including a surge of new prestige streaming series and a handful of perennial runners-up that could grab the, um, throne.
The company's analysts sift through the messages and find, say, a Viagra spammer who's violating key provisions of the Can-Spam Act of 2003.
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
First Known Use: before 12th centurySee Words from the same year
SIFT Defined for English Language Learners
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
Definition of sift for Students
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.
Seen and Heard
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