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win·now / ˈwinō/ • v. 1. [tr.] blow a current of air through (grain) in order to remove the chaff. ∎  remove (chaff) from grain: women winnow the chaff from piles of unhusked rice. ∎  reduce the number in a set of (people or things) gradually until only the best ones are left: the contenders had been winnowed to five. ∎  find or identify (a valuable or useful part of something): amidst this welter of confusing signals, it's difficult to winnow out the truth. ∎  identify and remove (the least valuable or useful people or things): guidelines that would help winnow out those not fit to be soldiers. 2. [intr.] poetic/lit. (of the wind) blow: the autumn wind winnowing its way through the grass. ∎  [tr.] (of a bird) fan (the air) with wings. DERIVATIVES: win·now·er n.

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