Etymology
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sift (v.)

Old English siftan "pass (something) through a sieve," from Proto-Germanic *sib- (source also of Dutch ziften, Middle Low German sichten, German sichten "to sift;" see sieve (n.)). Intransitive sense "to pass loosely or fall scatteredly" is from 1590s. Metaphoric sense of "look carefully through" first recorded 1530s. Related: Sifted; sifting.

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Definitions of sift

sift (v.)
move as if through a sieve;
The soldiers sifted through the woods
sift (v.)
separate by passing through a sieve or other straining device to separate out coarser elements;
sift the flour
Synonyms: sieve / strain
sift (v.)
check and sort carefully;
sift the information
Synonyms: sieve
sift (v.)
distinguish and separate out;
sift through the job candidates
Synonyms: sieve
From wordnet.princeton.edu