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v. win·nowed, win·now·ing, win·nows
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.
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.
1. To separate grain from chaff.
2. To separate the good from the bad.
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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
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.
"I did not," said Sancho, "but I found her winnowing two bushels of wheat in the yard of her house."
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.
The old men on the rising straw-rick talked of the past days when they had been accustomed to thresh with flails on the oaken barn-door; when everything, even to winnowing, was effected by hand-labour, which, to their thinking, though slow, produced better results.
A wayfarer will meet you and will say it must be a winnowing shovel that you have got upon your shoulder; on this you must fix the oar in the ground and sacrifice a ram, a bull, and a boar to Neptune.
Davies, "Edward Poeton: The Winnowing of White Witchcraft" was originally written in the 1630s and has never been printed.
Speaking as an ordinary citizen of these islands, I certainly know far more of relevant facts about the whole subject of Brexit and the EU than I did when casting my vote in 2016 even after winnowing the wheat from the chaff.
Her story was about how the crop helped her family of 18 survive as she also attached a photograph of her and her mother as they were extracting cacao seeds using winnowing baskets.
The New Jersey based Solomon Organization expanded its Southeast Portfolio with the acquisition of the 240-Unit Gregory Ferry Landing at 1240 Winnowing Way in the Charleston suburb of Mount Pleasant, S.C.
This means that the time has come for her to go to the Barton Centre to undergo a procedure called the winnowing, which puts an end to the ACES along with any 'physical impairments' that might arise during one's adolescence.
I enjoyed Sam Moore's article on hand forks for winnowing and other purposes (Farm Collector, February 201 7).