winnow

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winnow away

v.
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

v.
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 ?
Winnows daily treatment were not significant enough to be labeled "ethical decisions.
Winnows situation is that the myriad opportunities for preventing her poor health and morbid obesity are gone.
Winnow is a fifty-year-old morbidly obese Hawaiian woman with a history of diabetes, hypotension, and chronic atrial fibrillation.
Winnow for any reason elicits screams, cries, and pleas to let her die.
Winnow continues to refuse nursing care, then her life is in danger due to skin breakdown and subsequent infection.
Winnow to make painful compromises, the health care team must also be willing to make uncomfortable concessions.
Winnow as in the past, but hope that one of her organs starts to fail so that she can refuse treatment for the failing organ.
Winnow with enough barbiturates to render her unconscious and unable to eat or drink--may be the last resort, but only if she truly consents to sleeping through her final days; and, I suspect, only if her caregivers convince themselves that "heavy sedation" (sometimes referred to as "terminal sedation") is within the confines of accepted ethics, and that relieving suffering and easing death sometimes become one.