winnowing

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win·now

 (wĭn′ō)
v. win·nowed, win·now·ing, win·nows
v.tr.
1. To separate the chaff from (grain) by means of a current of air.
2. To blow (chaff) off or away.
3. To examine closely in order to separate the good from the bad; sift: The judges winnowed a thousand essays down to six finalists.
4.
a. To separate or get rid of (an undesirable part); eliminate: winnowing out the errors in logic.
b. To sort or select (a desirable part); extract: The investigators winnowed the facts from the testimony.
5. To blow on; fan: a breeze winnowing the tall grass.
v.intr.
1. To separate grain from chaff.
2. To separate the good from the bad.
n.
1. A device for winnowing grain.
2. An act of winnowing.

[Middle English winnewen, alteration of windwen, from Old English windwian, from wind, wind; see wind1.]

win′now·er n.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.winnowing - the act of separating grain from chaffwinnowing - the act of separating grain from chaff; "the winnowing was done by women"
separation - sorting one thing from others; "the separation of wheat from chaff"; "the separation of mail by postal zones"
Translations
References in classic literature ?
It was for his interests that every laborer should work as hard as possible, and that while doing so he should keep his wits about him, so as to try not to break the winnowing machines, the horse rakes, the thrashing machines, that he should attend to what he was doing.
Similarly, during two or three hours of drawl, and the winnowing of many bushels of words, Madame Defarge's frequent expressions of impatience were taken up, with marvellous quickness, at a distance: the more readily, because certain men who had by some wonderful exercise of agility climbed up the external architecture to look in from the windows, knew Madame Defarge well, and acted as a telegraph between her and the crowd outside the building.
I did not," said Sancho, "but I found her winnowing two bushels of wheat in the yard of her house.