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winnow

[win-oh] /ˈwɪn oʊ/
verb (used with object)
1.
to free (grain) from the lighter particles of chaff, dirt, etc., especially by throwing it into the air and allowing the wind or a forced current of air to blow away impurities.
2.
to drive or blow (chaff, dirt, etc.) away by fanning.
3.
to blow upon; fan.
4.
to subject to some process of separating or distinguishing; analyze critically; sift:
to winnow a mass of statements.
5.
to separate or distinguish (valuable from worthless parts) (sometimes followed by out):
to winnow falsehood from truth.
6.
to pursue (a course) with flapping wings in flying.
7.
to fan or stir (the air) as with the wings in flying.
verb (used without object)
8.
to free grain from chaff by wind or driven air.
9.
to fly with flapping wings; flutter.
noun
10.
a device or contrivance used for winnowing.
11.
an act of winnowing.
Origin
900
before 900; Middle English win(d)wen (v.), Old English windwian, derivative of wind wind1
Related forms
winnower, noun
unwinnowed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for winnowing
  • One reason is that there is a winnowing process before people actually go up for tenure.
  • Ultimately, that is an unreasonable question, because the process of winnowing them is so unappealing.
  • Experts have long been predicting a winnowing of the solar industry.
  • The photos reproduced here are the result of a painful winnowing of scores of marvelous images.
  • Oddly, one traditional tool has survived the winnowing: the campaign balloon.
  • Eventually, exports come to be dominated by firms and products that survive this winnowing process.
  • It is impossible to remember everything, so a process of winnowing must take place somehow.
  • It is delightful to observe her balancing, winnowing, fitting in the pieces of her plot.
  • Both winnowing and sifting were done in a flat circular basket plaque.
  • The seeds were then winnowed with a flat winnowing basket.
British Dictionary definitions for winnowing

winnow

/ˈwɪnəʊ/
verb
1.
to separate (grain) from (chaff) by means of a wind or current of air
2.
(transitive) to examine in order to select the desirable elements
3.
(transitive) (archaic) to beat (the air) with wings
4.
(transitive) (rare) to blow upon; fan
noun
5.
  1. a device for winnowing
  2. the act or process of winnowing
Derived Forms
winnower, noun
Word Origin
Old English windwian; related to Old High German wintōn, Gothic diswinthjan, Latin ventilāre. See wind1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for winnowing

winnow

v.

Old English windwian, from wind "air in motion, paring down," see wind (n.1). Cognate with Old Norse vinza, Old High German winton "to fan, winnow," Gothic diswinþjan "to throw (grain) apart," Latin vannus "winnowing fan."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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winnowing in the Bible

Corn was winnowed, (1.) By being thrown up by a shovel against the wind. As a rule this was done in the evening or during the night, when the west wind from the sea was blowing, which was a moderate breeze and fitted for the purpose. The north wind was too strong, and the east wind came in gusts. (2.) By the use of a fan or van, by which the chaff was blown away (Ruth 3:2; Isa. 30:24; Jer. 4:11, 12; Matt. 3:12).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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