Etymology
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sift (v.)

Middle English siften, from Old English siftan "pass or scatter (the finer parts of something) through a sieve," from Proto-Germanic *sib- (source also of Dutch ziften, Middle Low German sichten, German sichten "to sift;" see sieve (n.)).

The intransitive sense of "pass loosely or fall scatteredly" (of snow, light, etc.) is from 1590s, as is the meaning "clear or cleanse of impurities." The figurative or metaphoric sense of "look carefully through" is recorded by 1530s. Related: Sifted; sifting.

updated on October 05, 2022

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