sift

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sift / sift/ • v. [tr.] put (a fine, loose, or powdery substance) through a sieve so as to remove lumps or large particles: sift the flour into a large bowl. ∎ fig. examine (something) thoroughly so as to isolate that which is most important or useful: until we sift the evidence ourselves, we can't comment objectively | [intr.] the fourth stage involves sifting through the data and evaluating it. ∎  (sift something out) separate something, esp. something to be discarded, from something else: he asked for streamlined procedures to sift out frivolous applications. ∎  cause to flow or pass as through a sieve: Melanie sifted the warm sand through her fingers. ∎  [intr.] (of snow, ash, light, or something similar) descend or float down lightly or sparsely as if sprinkled from a sieve: ash began to sift down around them. • n. [usu. in sing.] an act of sifting something, esp. so as to isolate that which is most important or useful: a careful archaeological sift must be made through the debris. ∎  an amount of sifted material: the floor was dusted with a fine sift of flour. DERIVATIVES: sift·er n.

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sift •Taft •abaft, aft, craft, daft, draft, draught, engraft, graft, haft, kraft, raft, shaft, understaffed, unstaffed, waft •backdraft • handcraft • aircraft •stagecraft • spacecraft • statecraft •needlecraft • priestcraft • witchcraft •kingcraft • handicraft • woodcraft •Wollstonecraft • bushcraft •watercraft • hovercraft • crankshaft •camshaft • layshaft • driveshaft •turboshaft • countershaft •bereft, cleft, deft, eft, heft, klepht, left, reft, theft, weft •adrift, drift, gift, grift, lift, rift, shift, shrift, sift, squiffed, swift, thrift, uplift •airlift, chairlift, stairlift •facelift • skilift • shoplift • Festschrift •spendthrift • spindrift • snowdrift •makeshift • downshift • upshift •aloft, croft, loft, oft, soft, toft •hayloft • Ashcroft • Cockcroft •undercroft • Lowestoft •tuft, unstuffed •Delft

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sift OE. siftan = MLG., MDu. siften, sichten (Du. ziften); f. WGmc. *sib- (see prec.).

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sift To shake flour, sugar, etc., through a sieve.