winnow VERB 1) blow air through (grain) in order to remove the chaff. 2) remove (chaff) from grain. 3) reduce the number in a set of (people or things) gradually until only the best ones are left.
ORIGIN Old English, related to WIND(Cf. ↑windless).

English terms dictionary. 2015.

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  • Winnow — Win now (w[i^]n n[ o]), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Winnowed} (w[i^]n n[ o]d); p. pr. & vb. n. {Winnowing}.] [OE. windewen, winewen, AS. windwian; akin to Goth. winpjan (in comp.), winpi skauro a fan, L. ventilare to fan, to winnow; cf. L. wannus a fan… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • winnow — [win′ō] vt. [ME winewen < OE windwian, to winnow < wind, WIND2] 1. a) to blow the chaff from (grain) by wind or a forced current of air b) to blow off (chaff) in this manner 2. to blow away; scatter 3. to anal …   English World dictionary

  • Winnow — Win now, v. i. To separate chaff from grain. [1913 Webster] Winnow not with every wind. Ecclus. v. 9. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • winnow — (v.) O.E. windwian, from wind air in motion, paring down, see WIND (Cf. wind) (n.1). Cognate with O.N. vinza, O.H.G. winton to fan, winnow, Goth. diswinþjan to throw (grain) apart, L. vannus winnowing fan …   Etymology dictionary

  • winnow — index cull, distinguish, screen (select), select, separate Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • winnow — win|now [ˈwınəu US nou] v also winnow down [: Old English; Origin: windwian] [T] to make a list, group, or quantity smaller by getting rid of the things that you do not need or want = ↑whittle down ▪ We need to winnow the list of candidates to… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • winnow — UK [ˈwɪnəʊ] / US [ˈwɪnoʊ] verb [transitive] Word forms winnow : present tense I/you/we/they winnow he/she/it winnows present participle winnowing past tense winnowed past participle winnowed to remove the outer cover from grain Phrasal verbs:… …   English dictionary

  • winnow — I. verb Etymology: Middle English winewen, from Old English windwian to fan, winnow; akin to Old High German wintōn to fan, Latin vannus winnowing fan, ventus wind more at wind Date: before 12th century transitive verb 1. a. (1) to remove (as… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • winnow — winnower, n. /win oh/, v.t. 1. to free (grain) from the lighter particles of chaff, dirt, etc., esp. 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.)… …   Universalium

  • winnow — win|now [ wınou ] verb transitive to remove the outer cover from grain ,winnow down phrasal verb transitive to reduce the size of a group of people or things so that you only keep the best or most useful ones ,winnow out phrasal verb transitive… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

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