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winnow away

1. To remove some material, such as chaff, from grain by means of a current of air: Modern machines can winnow away all the chaff very efficiently. The farmers winnow the chaff away by flinging the grain into the air with a large blanket.
2. To get rid of some unfit or undesirable part; eliminate something or someone: The process will winnow away the weakest candidates. The editor winnowed most of the errors away.
3. To reduce some group by separating or eliminating the unfit or undesirable part: The process winnowed away the field of candidates.
4. To remove some material from a mixture by means of a current of air or water: The wind has winnowed away the sand from the soil. Water currents pick up mud from the riverbank and winnow it away, exposing the rock.
See also: away, winnow

winnow out

1. To separate some material, such as chaff, from grain by means of a current of air: The farmer winnows out the chaff with a machine. There is always some debris in the harvest, but we winnow it out.
2. To separate or get rid of some unfit or undesirable part; eliminate something or someone: The lions tend to winnow out the sick antelope. The political process will winnow the weakest candidates out.
3. To sort or select some fit or desirable part; extract someone or something: We winnowed out the top candidates from the rest and interviewed them. There are only a few good pieces of wood in this shipment, and it will take a long time to winnow them out.
4. To rid some group of unfit or undesirable members: The test winnowed out the applicant pool.
See also: out, winnow
References in periodicals archive ?
The hours of footage shot for each week's episode need to be winnowed down and wrapped around some sort of story that emerges.
Although Zacarias said in a speech Monday that he would urge that the 13 reading programs be winnowed to three, Tokofsky said it's too late.
Initial rankings include 205 top medical centers, winnowed from 6,045, in 17 specialties.
The superintendent said he would urge that the 13 programs be winnowed to three.
This summer 460 nominations received from 59 nations were winnowed to 25 Laureates who will be feted on November 7 at a black-tie gala and introduced the following day to Silicon Valley luminaries and global leaders.
That list of finalists was further winnowed to a select number of national award winners.
Winnowed from among 1,000 applicants across the country, 11-19 White House Fellows are selected annually on the basis of their early-career professional, academic and leadership achievement.
What I know of these promotions suggests that the actual field of finalists is typically winnowed down to everyone who has ever gotten on any mailing list for any reason.
The corrections of the last few quarters have winnowed the industry to solution and service providers that deliver scalable applications and services, measurable value, clear monetization and an ROI that is benefit-driven and revenue-driven.
The jury pool just gets winnowed down for these longer trials.
DataCore was selected from a roster of five finalists in the software category, winnowed down from 30 nominations.
A four-member citizens group winnowed the applicants down to 25 candidates.
As mainstream radio has winnowed play lists limited to slick teen acts, television commercials now blast underground electronic dance music and alt rock.
The school board winnowed the field of applicants and has visited the district of their top finalist - whose name hasn't been made public.
We finally winnowed down the selections by looking for products that represented more than a simple incremental change in a technology or product sector.