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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 ?
Instead of three groups that flow from Paring to Winnowing to Building, they saw, instead, four discrete and independent groups, Parers, Winnowers, Builders, and Dual-Channel students.
In each chapter of The Perfect Name, a couple fills in worksheets together, separately, and together again, each time building, and winnowing the list of names until the final cut.
John Walsh, a longtime MTA critic and community activist, said the selection process of winnowing the five candidates to head the MTA was done in total secrecy.
Such drastic winnowing of Permian organisms allowed new forms to rise in prominence, ultimately leading to the ascendance of the dinosaurs.
Determination of winning innovations and program finalists in the competition was made by an independent selection committee comprised of two dozen engineers, scientists, entrepreneurs, attorneys and industry experts charged with winnowing the entries down to the list of finalists.
The greatest value of Schulze's interpretation of how air pollutants subtly foster Europe's forest diebacks may lie in winnowing out many tantalizing but false research leads, says David Van Lear, a forest-soils specialist at Clemson (S.
The judges had a difficult time winnowing the list of finalists down to one winner in each category," said UniForum Association President Alan Fedder.
But the district has already run voluntary remedial classes for almost a year in hope of winnowing out more students who can be promoted, leaving few back.
But about five years ago, the two groups decided to collaborate on the laborious work of first identifying the region of the X chromosome that contains the Rett's gene, then winnowing the gene from among 200 possible candidates.
Some fast cost-cutting - winnowing down the number of shooting days and locations - saved the day.
That's also his tool of choice when it comes to winnowing the hundreds of appointments he has to make to state bodies ranging from the Fish and Game Commission to the Board of Barbering.
Over the years, Walsh noted, there's been a gradual winnowing down of text in Ruscha's art, building to ``Picture Without Words.
While winnowing the list, the committee posed a core question: ``Can any political, social or intellectual feat of engineering on the international or national plane, no matter how effective and rational .
By increasing the disparity, Congress is unnecessarily winnowing out highly qualified potential judges.
With winnowing, revamping, repairing or rearranging, or any combination of these tactics, it's easy to set the tone for a stylish year.