Fitzpatrick sifted through the letters for months, reading the 200,000 pages of letters kept at the Kennedy Library in Boston.
When I sat down and sifted through the mountains of information I eventually unearthed on Macfadden, two things became clear.
Apparently she wanted to find out more, and sifted through his emails while he was out of the room getting the morning coffee.
Old English siftan "pass (something) through a sieve," from Proto-Germanic *sib- (cf. Dutch ziften, Middle Low German sichten, German sichten "to sift;" see sieve (n.)). Intransitive sense "to pass loosely or fall scatteredly" is from 1590s. Metaphoric sense of "look carefully through" first recorded 1530s. Related: Sifted; sifting.