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[siv] /sɪv/
an instrument with a meshed or perforated bottom, used for separating coarse from fine parts of loose matter, for straining liquids, etc., especially one with a circular frame and fine meshes or perforations.
a person who cannot keep a secret.
verb (used with object), verb (used without object), sieved, sieving.
to put or force through a sieve; sift.
Origin of sieve
before 900; Middle English sive, Old English sife; cognate with Dutch zeef, German Sieb; akin to sift
Related forms
sievelike, adjective
unsieved, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for sieve
  • Traditionally, cooks sieve the broth and serve it separately from the meat.
  • Others filter seawater through a sieve or measure the location of floppy sea palms with a transit.
  • The sieve catches things too small for the divers to pick up individually, especially the seeds and other plant remains.
  • The contents of the pot are then filtered through a sieve lined with finely woven cotton or silk.
  • Strain broth through a fine-mesh sieve into a large pot, discarding solids.
  • Pour mixture through a fine sieve into a large bowl, gently pressing on solids, and discard solids.
  • Rinse rice in a sieve under cold running water until water runs clear.
  • Pour purée through a sieve into a bowl, pressing on solids with back of a spoon.
  • Immediately strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a metal bowl, pressing on and then discarding solids.
  • Line a large sieve with cheesecloth and set over a bowl.
British Dictionary definitions for sieve


a device for separating lumps from powdered material, straining liquids, grading particles, etc, consisting of a container with a mesh or perforated bottom through which the material is shaken or poured
(rare) a person who gossips and spreads secrets
memory like a sieve, head like a sieve, a very poor memory
to pass or cause to pass through a sieve
(transitive) often foll by out. to separate or remove (lumps, materials, etc) by use of a sieve
Derived Forms
sievelike, adjective
Word Origin
Old English sife; related to Old Norse sef reed with hollow stalk, Old High German sib sieve, Dutch zeef
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 sieve

Old English sife "sieve," from Proto-Germanic *sib (cf. Middle Dutch seve, Dutch zeef, Old High German sib, German Sieb), from PIE *seib- "to pour out, sieve, drip, trickle" (see soap (n.)). Related to sift. The Sieve of Eratosthenes (1803) is a contrivance for finding prime numbers. Sieve and shears formerly were used in divinations.


late 15c., from sieve (n.). Related: Sieved; sieving.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for sieve

silver bullet

noun phrase

A very effective, quasi-magical agent, remedy, etc: Stokovich looked on Kennedy as his ''silver bullet,'' his absolute best man/ No single silver bullet is going to do the job

[1808+; reflecting an ancient belief that silver weapons can conquer any foe, found, for example, in the Delphic Oracle's advice to Philip of Macedon, ''With silver weapons you may conquer the world'']

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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