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[dih-stil] /dɪˈstɪl/
verb (used with object), verb (used without object), distilled, distilling. Chiefly British


[dih-stil] /dɪˈstɪl/
verb (used with object)
to subject to a process of vaporization and subsequent condensation, as for purification or concentration.
to extract the volatile components of by distillation; transform by distillation.
to concentrate, purify, or obtain by or as by distillation:
to distill whiskey from mash.
to remove by distillation (usually followed by off or out):
to distill out impurities.
to extract the essential elements of; refine; abstract:
She managed to distill her ideas into one succinct article.
to let fall in drops; give forth in or as in drops:
The cool of the night distills the dew.
verb (used without object)
to undergo or perform distillation.
to become vaporized and then condensed in distillation.
to drop, pass, or condense as a distillate.
to fall in drops; trickle; exude.
1325-75; Middle English distillen (< Anglo-French distiller) < Latin distillāre, variant of dēstillāre, equivalent to dē- de- + stillāre to drip
Related forms
distillable, adjective
nondistillable, adjective
redistill, verb (used with object)
redistillable, adjective
redistillableness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for distilling
  • It was so much fun, and totally different than distilling a whole story into one single image.
  • We could be cooking and distilling the wood to produce various organic chemicals.
  • Also, the residue after distilling off the alcohol might create a huge disposal problem.
  • The raw sands have to be upgraded by a processes called distilling and coking.
  • The micro-distilling craze gets even more micro with limited-edition booze infused with geek concentrate.
  • When alchemists invented distilling, they were trying to boil out the essential spirits that lived within all matter.
  • With its self-contained distilling mechanism and one-step process, it promises to make the process as reliable as making coffee.
  • So one of the problems is distilling it down into a three-act play that can be filmed.
  • Madmen in authority who hear voices in the air are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back.
  • In my opinion there is no one better at distilling academic debates for a general audience.
British Dictionary definitions for distilling


verb -tils, -tills, -tilling, -tilled
to subject to or undergo distillation See also rectify (sense 2)
sometimes foll by out or off. to purify, separate, or concentrate, or be purified, separated, or concentrated by distillation
to obtain or be obtained by distillation: to distil whisky
to exude or give off (a substance) in drops or small quantities
(transitive) to extract the essence of as if by distillation
Derived Forms
distillable, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Latin dēstillāre to distil, from de- + stillāre to drip
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 distilling



also distil, late 14c., from Old French distiller (14c.), from Latin distillare "trickle down in minute drops," from dis- "apart" (see dis-) + stillare "to drip, drop," from stilla "drop." Related: Distilled; distilling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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distilling in Medicine

distill dis·till (dĭ-stĭl)
v. dis·tilled or dis·tilled, dis·till·ing or dis·til·ling, dis·tills or dis·tils

  1. To subject a substance to distillation.

  2. To separate a distillate by distillation.

  3. To increase the concentration of, separate, or purify a substance by distillation.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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