1

winnow

verb win·now \ ˈwi-(ˌ)nō \
Updated on: 18 Apr 2018
1 a (1) : to remove (something, such as chaff) by a current of air
(2) : to get rid of (something undesirable or unwanted) : remove often used with out
  • winnow out certain inaccuracies
  • —Stanley Walker
b (1) : separate, sift
  • an old hand at winnowing what is true and significant
  • —Oscar Lewis
(2) : select
2 a : to treat (something, such as grain) by exposure to a current of air so that waste matter is eliminated
b : to free of unwanted or inferior elements : pare
c : narrow, reduce
  • winnowed the field to four contenders
3 : to blow on : fan
  • the wind winnowing his thin white hair
  • Time
1 : to separate chaff from grain by fanning
2 : to separate desirable and undesirable elements

winnower

play \ˈwi-nə-wər\ noun

winnow was our Word of the Day on 03/27/2016. Hear the podcast!

Examples of winnow in a Sentence

  1. The least qualified applicants were winnowed out of the initial pool.

  2. Harvesters winnowed the chaff from the wheat.

Recent Examples of winnow from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of winnow

Middle English winewen, from Old English windwian to fan, winnow; akin to Old High German wintōn to fan, Latin vannus winnowing fan, ventus wind — more at wind

2

winnow

noun
1 : a device for winnowing
2 a : the action of winnowing
b : a motion resembling that of winnowing

Recent Examples of winnow from the Web

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

First Known Use of winnow

1580

Other Agriculture/Gardening Terms


WINNOW Defined for English Language Learners

winnow

  • : to remove (people or things that are less important, desirable, etc.) from a larger group or list : to make (a list of possible choices) smaller by removing the less desirable choices

  • : to remove (the unwanted coverings of seeds) from grain by throwing the grain up in the air and letting the wind blow the unwanted parts away


WINNOW Defined for Kids

winnow

verb win·now \ ˈwi-nō \
winnowed; winnowing
1 : to remove (as waste from grain) by a current of air
2 : to sort or separate from a larger group


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