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illustration Winnow



Part of speech: verb

Origin: Old English, late 14th century


Remove (people or things) from a group until only the best ones are left; find or identify (a valuable or useful part of something).


Remove (chaff) from grain.

Examples of Winnow in a sentence

"The women winnow the grain every day of the harvest season."

"Dana winnowed her list of admirers down to a select few."

About Winnow

This stems from the Old English word “windwian.” It’s related to the Dutch “wind” and German “Wind,” from an Indo-European root shared by Latin ventus.

Did you Know?

“Winnow” has even more definitions than listed. Although rarely used this way, it can also mean “to beat with or as if with wings” or “to blow on or fan.” These definitions didn’t come into play until the 19th century.

illustration Winnow

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