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sieve (n.)

"instrument for separating the finer from the coarser parts of disintegrated matter by shaking it so as to force the former through meshes too small for the latter to pass," Old English sife, from Proto-Germanic *sib (source also of Middle Dutch seve, Dutch zeef, Old High German sib, German Sieb), from PIE *seib- "to pour out, sieve, drip, trickle" (see soap (n.)). Related to sift. The Sieve of Eratosthenes (1803) is a contrivance for finding prime numbers. Sieve and shears formerly were used in divination.

sieve (v.)

late 15c., from sieve (n.). Related: Sieved; sieving.

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