Definition of sieve in English:

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Pronunciation: /sɪv/


1A utensil consisting of a wire or plastic mesh held in a frame, used for straining solids from liquids, for separating coarser from finer particles, or for reducing soft solids to a pulp: puree the potatoes through a sieve rinse the lentils in a sieve under running water
More example sentences
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cabbage leaves to an ice bath to chill and strain through a mesh sieve.
  • Dissolve the coffee in 125 ml boiling water and strain through a fine sieve into a saucepan.
  • Strain the chilies through a fine mesh sieve, reserving the water and chilies separately.
strainer, sifter, filter, colander, riddle, screen, muslin cloth
archaic griddle
1.1Used figuratively with reference to the fact that a sieve does not hold all its contents: she’s forgotten all the details already, she’s got a mind like a sieve
More example sentences
  • Which led to a brief conversation, marred slightly by the fact that I have a mind like a sieve, and no sooner had we parted than I realised I couldn't remember what she said her name was.
  • Meanwhile, I have got a roof that's leaking like a sieve.
  • It's got several very memorable scenes - I can still recall quite a bit of the book even though I haven't read it in years and I have a mind like a sieve.


[with object]
1Put (a food substance or other material) through a sieve: sieve the flour and sugar together in a bowl (as adjective sieved) dredge with sieved icing sugar
More example sentences
  • Prior to the experiments, this natural sand was sieved to remove pebbles and organic material.
  • When the material is then sieved and the finer fraction sent to the assay furnace the gold particles could stay on the screen and be left out.
  • Within two days, we sieved the soil to remove large pebbles and plant litter, weighed the fresh samples, dried the samples in an oven at 100°C for 48 h, and reweighed them.
strain, sift, screen, filter, riddle
archaic bolt, griddle
1.1 (usually sieve something out) Remove (unwanted items): filters sieve large particles out of the water to prevent them from harming the pumps
1.2 [no object] (sieve through) Examine in detail: lawyers had sieved through her contract
More example sentences
  • At 12 Kelburn Parade, the Vic Accommodation Services sieve through most of the tedious but crucial details for you, plus they have a map!
  • Spot these ‘good bargain shops’ in any good market, Green Park or in Central Delhi and you cannot miss the young crowd that is seen sieving through the purses, soft toys, perfumes and other items.
  • Specialist officers are sieving through soil trying to find anything that may be significant to the case.



Example sentences
  • Since then my life has comprised days of an aching body and nights of sleeplessness - long hours spent listening to the icy wind scraping crackly leaves along the paving and rattling doors in the sieve-like structure I call home.
  • For years, I had passed that proud old building, lying behind a sieve-like camouflage of trees and a towering grey wall, not noticing the grandeur of the magnificent school, or the role it has in providing for its children.
  • He then accompanied me downstairs to take a look at the increasingly sieve-like nature of my bathroom ceiling.


Old English sife (noun), of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch zeef and German Sieb.

Words that rhyme with sieve

forgive, give, live, misgive, outlive, shiv, spiv, Viv

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: sieve

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