verb (used with object)
to separate and retain the coarse parts of (flour, ashes, etc.) with a sieve.
to scatter or sprinkle through or by means of a sieve: to sift sugar onto cake.
to separate by or as if by a sieve.
to examine closely: The detectives are still sifting the evidence.
to question closely.
verb (used without object)
to sift something.
to pass or fall through or as if through a sieve.

before 900; Middle English siften, Old English siftan; cognate with Dutch, Middle Low German siften; akin to sieve

outsift, verb (used with object)
presift, verb (used with object)
resift, verb (used with object)
unsifted, adjective

4. sort, scrutinize, inspect, search, probe. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To sifting
World English Dictionary
sift (sɪft)
1.  (tr) to sieve (sand, flour, etc) in order to remove the coarser particles
2.  to scatter (something) over a surface through a sieve
3.  (tr) to separate with or as if with a sieve; distinguish between
4.  (tr) to examine minutely: to sift evidence
5.  (intr) to move as if through a sieve
[Old English siftan; related to Middle Low German siften to sift, Dutch ziften; see sieve]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

O.E. siftan "pass something through a sieve," related to sife (see sieve). Cf. Du. ziften, M.L.G. sichten, Ger. sichten "to sift." Metaphoric sense of "look carefully through" first recorded 1535.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature