You searched for: “winnow
winnow, winnows, winnowing, winnowed
1. To separate grain from its husks, or chaff, by tossing it in the air or blowing air and letting the wind blow the unwanted parts away.
2. To examine something in order to remove the bad, unusable, or undesirable parts.
3. To examine closely in order to separate the good from the bad; to sift.
4. To remove (people or things that are less important, desirable, etc.) from a larger group or list: "The least qualified applicants were winnowed out of the initial pool."
5. To make (a list of possible choices) smaller by removing the less desirable choices: "The list of candidates has been winnowed; that is, narrowed down or whittled down to seven."

This sense of winnow is often followed by "down": "He needs to winnow down his options."

6. Etymology: Old English windwian, from wind, "air in motion, paring down". Cognate with Old Norse vinza, Old High German winton, "to fan, to winnow"; "to throw (grain) apart"; from Latin vannus, "winnowing fan".

The same concept describes Latin ventilare, "winnow", the source of ventilate in English which came from ventus, "wind".

This entry is located in the following unit: vent- (page 2)