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1. (literally) Of a liquid, to slowly seep down through lower substrate levels. The company bottles rainwater that has filtered down through seven layers of volcanic rock, purifying it and enriching it with minerals.
2. (by extension) Of information, resources, communication, etc., to move slowly and in small amounts down to lower levels of people in an organization, population, or group. It always takes a dog's age for any important company information to filter down to me and the other interns. The government has approved a staggering $200 billion stimulus package, but some experts warn it could be years before that money filters down to individuals and smaller businesses.
Of information, resources, communication, etc., to move slowly and in small amounts up to higher levels of people in an organization, population, or group. Local think-tanks are developing new, pragmatic strategies to deal with the burgeoning housing crisis, but they are unlikely to filter up to the agenda of state lawmakers anytime soon.
filter in(to some place)
1. Lit. to leak or seep into some place. The smell of bacon cooking filtered into his room and made him wake up. The smoke filtered in and burned our eyes.
2. Fig. [for people] to come into a place, a few at a time, over a period of time. One by one, the guests filtered into the room. They filtered in and started on the snacks.
filter something out of somethingand filter something out
to remove something from a fluid by running it through a filter. We filtered the odors out of the water and made it fit to drink. I'm glad you filtered out the odor.
filter through (something)
to pass or seep through something. The water filtered through the coffee grounds and dripped into the pot. The clear water filtered through and left the sand behind.
To pass or spread downward from an upper level to lower levels, as through a filter: The information slowly filtered down from management to the hourly employees.
To prevent something from passing through, being communicated, or being perceived: My new glasses filter out ultraviolet rays. These headphones filter unwanted noise out.
To be allowed to pass through something or to find a way through something, especially an obstacle: The sunlight filtered through the thin curtains.
n. a setting on an internet email reader that will filter out selected annoying people. (Refers to bozo, a jerk.) Welcome to my bozo filter, jerk!