Definition of winnow in English:

winnow

verb

  • 1with object Blow a current of air through (grain) in order to remove the chaff.

    • ‘A person in clean moccasins then ‘danced the rice’ treading on it to remove the hull and then tossing it into the air to winnow the chaff.’
    • ‘As, when grain is shaken and winnowed by fans and other instruments used in the threshing of corn, the close and heavy particles are borne away and settle in one direction, and the loose and light particles in another.’
    1. 1.1 Remove (chaff) from grain.
      ‘women winnow the chaff from piles of unhusked rice’
      • ‘Shaggy yaks stomp around threshing circles, ears of barley are thrashed with sticks and winnowed by singing villagers in twos and threes.’
      • ‘A 19th century hand-powered barn winnowing machine using volunteers' muscle power will then separate the grain from the chaff before milling, using machines from replica Stone Age querns to a Bamford mill powered by a 1930 tractor.’
      • ‘Also you may occasionally see her out in the fields helping her mother, Memnet, crush and winnow the grain.’
      • ‘The jigged rice was winnowed with a bark tray to separate the chaff.’
      • ‘To winnow the wheat from the chaff and to prepare it in an easily digested shape for the tender stomachs of first- and second-year students taxes the resources of the most capable teacher.’
      • ‘These include the preparation of new fields, preparing existing fields, ploughing, planting, harvesting, threshing, winnowing, and storing the grain.’
      • ‘A woman winnowing grain in the Virunga National Park.’
      • ‘In the countryside, her duties include caring for children, home, and garden, as well as transplanting, harvesting, and winnowing the rice.’
      • ‘After all the grain have been removed from the mahangu heads this grain must be winnowed to remove the husks.’
      • ‘There is even a sign in the tourist office - of all places - for a ‘hand-power riddling and winnowing combinated machine on rent.’’
      • ‘The chaff is winnowed out by the activities of millions of independent actions.’
      • ‘They will have the chance to try reaping, stooking, threshing, winnowing and milling and, if they still have the energy, cooking as they take part in the entire harvest process from field to plate.’
      • ‘Days like this become a file of lingering images: women winnowing grain, children carrying almost their own weight in firewood, and meeting a Hindu sadhu on pilgrimage.’
      • ‘Now that most of the chaff has been winnowed I hope to be able to concentrate on the wheat.’
      separate, divide, sort out
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Remove (people or things) from a group until only the best ones are left.
      ‘guidelines that would help winnow out those not fit to be soldiers’
      ‘the contenders had been winnowed to five’
      • ‘Chris Waywell winnows the wheat from the chaff in this elusive subject.’
      • ‘The lack of small, easily transported elements in the collection also suggests current activity, as such elements may be quickly winnowed out of a bone assemblage.’
      • ‘It's easy to fall in love with particular images, even mediocre ones, but with time it also becomes easier to winnow the wheat from the chaff.’
      • ‘But they comforted themselves knowing they'd picked up a couple of governorships, winnowing the Republican lead to 24-23.’
      • ‘Show producers are now winnowing the group to 12 hopefuls for America's first reality-TV primary.’
      • ‘The court is now able to winnow the grain from the chaff, as the Photo Production reasoning is embodied in the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977, s. 9.’
      • ‘Time will winnow the wheat from the chaff but it won't diminish the pleasure of Lane's reviews.’
      • ‘You spend the vast majority of your time winnowing the application pile - i.e., finding reasons not to hire someone.’
      • ‘She contends that women winnow competing ideas less through hostile scrutiny than by getting inside another's mind, and often by way of friendly conversation.’
    3. 1.3 Find or identify (a valuable or useful part of something)
      ‘amidst this welter of confusing signals, it's difficult to winnow out the truth’
      • ‘Analysts attempt to winnow a few kernels of truth from a mass of falsehood in order to construct a comprehensible mosaic from a swiftly flowing stream of uncertain data.’
      • ‘To the extent that the FDA has helped winnow the mainstream drug market down to scientifically proven treatments, it has been a help rather than hindrance.’
      • ‘His distaste for hypotheses is the natural reaction of a man in possession of a far superior instrument for winnowing truth from error.’
      separate out, sift out, filter out, isolate, sort out, find, identify, ferret out
      View synonyms
  • 2literary no object (of the wind) blow.

    ‘the autumn wind winnowing its way through the grass’
    1. 2.1with object (of a bird) fan (the air) with its wings.

Origin

Old English windwian, from wind (see wind).

Pronunciation

winnow

/ˈwinō//ˈwɪnoʊ/