winnow

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winnow away

1. To use a current of air to blow chaff away from grain. A noun or pronoun can be used between "winnow" and "away." The revolutionary new machine promises to winnow away chaff much faster with a lower percentage of grain being lost or destroyed in the process. Before they had mechanical means, farmers had to rely on the wind to winnow chaff and other debris away.
2. To filter out and remove persons or things that are unfit, unwanted, or unreliable. A noun or pronoun can be used between "winnow" and "away." The grueling nature of these exams in meant to test the learning of up-and-coming doctors, as well as winnow away those who don't have the determination and resilience. The committee will first winnow the weakest applicants away before beginning to seriously examine those who might be accepted into the university. We'll subject your thesis to a panel of professors in order to winnow away any problems with logic or evidence.
3. To cause a group to become smaller by removing the least able or desirable people or things from it. A noun or pronoun can be used between "winnow" and "away." The company always takes on a large number of interns each summer, winnowing it away until only the most capable remain to be given work full time. Natural selection winnows out the population of animals, leaving behind those with the traits necessary to withstand the environment and its predators.
See also: away, winnow

winnow from (something)

1. To use a current of wind or air to separate grain from chaff. A noun or pronoun, especially "grain," is used between "winnow" and "from." The revolutionary new machine promises to winnow grain from chaff much more efficiently. Before they had mechanical means, farmers had to rely on the wind to winnow chaff and other debris away.
2. To select the most capable, desirable, or viable persons or things from a group, discarding the rest. A noun or pronoun is used between "winnow" and "from." The grueling nature of these exams in meant to winnow the best or most serious medical students from those who don't have what it takes to succeed. The committee will winnow the strongest applications from weakest.
See also: winnow

winnow out

1. To use a current of air to blow chaff away from grain. A noun or pronoun can be used between "winnow" and "out." The revolutionary new machine promises to winnow out chaff much faster with a lower percentage of grain being lost or destroyed in the process. Before they had mechanical means, farmers had to rely on the wind to winnow chaff and other debris out.
2. To filter out and remove persons or things that are unfit, unwanted, or unreliable. A noun or pronoun can be used between "winnow" and "out." The grueling nature of these exams in meant to test the learning of up-and-coming doctors, as well as winnow out those who don't have the determination and resilience. The committee will first winnow the weakest applicants out before beginning to seriously examine those who might be accepted into the university. We'll subject your thesis to a panel of professors in order to winnow out any problems with logic or evidence.
3. To select the most capable, desirable, or viable persons or things from a group, discarding the rest. A noun or pronoun can used between "winnow" and "out." Our application process already brings in the brightest the country has to offer, so our interview process has to winnow out the very best of the best. A good editor can winnow out the best parts of a manuscript while discarding or reshaping what doesn't work as well.
4. To cause a group to become smaller by removing the least able or desirable people or things from it. A noun or pronoun can be used between "winnow" and "out." The company always takes on a large number of interns each summer, winnowing it out until only the most capable remain to be given work full time. Natural selection winnows out the population of animals, leaving behind those with the traits necessary to withstand the environment and its predators.
See also: out, winnow

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 condition portends no such hopeful resolution; it promises only more of the same pain and suffering every day for months--perhaps years.
Winnows plight, I can only wonder what steps she and others took--or did not take to lead to her present woes.
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.