from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- transitive v. To put (flour, for example) through a sieve or other straining device in order to separate the fine from the coarse particles.
- transitive v. To distinguish as if separating with a sieve: sifted the candidates for the job.
- transitive v. To apply by scattering with or as if with a sieve: sift sugar on a dessert.
- transitive v. To examine and sort carefully: sift the evidence.
- intransitive v. To make use of a sieve.
- intransitive v. To pass through or as if through a sieve: a meal that sifts easily.
- intransitive v. To make a careful examination: sifted through back issues of the magazine.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- v. To sieve or strain (something).
- v. To separate or scatter (things) as if by sieving.
- v. To examine (something) carefully.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- transitive v. To separate with a sieve, as the fine part of a substance from the coarse
- transitive v. To separate or part as if with a sieve.
- transitive v. To examine critically or minutely; to scrutinize.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- To cause the finer parts of to pass through a sieve; part or separate the larger and smaller elements of, by shaking in a sieve; bolt: as, to sift meal, powder, sand, or lime; to sift the flour from the bran.
- To pass or shake through or from anything in the manner of a sieve; pour out or stir up loosely, like particles falling from a sieve: as, to sift sand through the fingers; to sift sugar upon a cake.
- To act upon or about as if by means of a sieve; examine with close scrutiny; subject to minute analysis: used with a great variety of applications: sometimes with out: as, to sift the good from the bad; to sift out the truth of the matter; to sift a proposition.
- Synonyms Sift, Bolt, Strain, Screen. Sift is used especially of action by means of a sieve, or of anything serving as a sieve, as an independent instrument; bolt, of the separation of meal and bran, or of the different grades of meal or flour, or the like, by the mechanism of a mill. Strain and screen are used of analogous action upon liquids and coarser solids.
- To pass or fall loosely or scatteringly, as if through the meshes of a sieve: as, the dust or the snow sifted through the crevices; the light sifts from the clouds.
- To practise detailed scrutiny or investigation; make close examination.
- n. Something that falls or passes as if from the meshes of a sieve; sifting or sifted material.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- v. distinguish and separate out
- v. separate by passing through a sieve or other straining device to separate out coarser elements
- v. move as if through a sieve
- v. check and sort carefully
Middle English siften, from Old English siftan.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)