AskDefine | Define sifting

Dictionary Definition

sifting n : the act of separating grain from chaff; "the winnowing was done by women" [syn: winnow, winnowing]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. present participle of sift

Extensive Definition

In general, a sieve separates wanted/desired elements from unwanted material using a tool such as a mesh, net or other filtration or distillation methods, but it is also used for classification of powders by particle size, or for size measurement as an analytical technique. The word "sift" derives from this term. A strainer is a type of sieve typically associated with separating liquids from solids.
Sieve may mean:



(see also: Filter)


Computer science


Other uses

  • a stainless steel strainer, used in plumbing
  • in metaphor and simile, sieve may often be used to refer to things that are leaky, as a sieve used for a bowl.
    • In particular, in hockey, a goaltender who lets a lot of goals through is sometimes compared to a sieve. (In college hockey students chant the word "sieve" at the opposite goalie)
    • In basketball, a player who is a poor defender is sometimes referred to as a "sieve."
  • On rivers, a sieve or strainer is a dangerous obstacle that water can pass through, but people cannot. See Obstacle in whitewater canoing
  • the Sieve, a river in Italy
sifting in Catalan: Garbell
sifting in German: Sieb
sifting in French: Passoire
sifting in Japanese: 篩
sifting in Dutch: Zeef
sifting in Polish: sito
sifting in Portuguese: Crivo
sifting in Spanish: Rejilla
sifting in Spanish: Filtro
sifting in Swedish: Såll

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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