Definition of sieve in English:


Pronunciation /siv/ /sɪv/

Translate sieve into Spanish


  • 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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Strain the liquid from the figs through a fine mesh sieve and transfer to a saucepan.’
    • ‘Pour the cooking liquid through a sieve and press with a wooden spoon to get all the juices out.’
    • ‘Mesh barriers or sieves can screen out anything larger than a certain size from incoming water.’
    • ‘Seeds were separated from the dry inflorescences on 300-mesh sieves, and stored in the dark at 4°C until use.’
    • ‘The liquid is strained through a grass sieve and served in tiny cups.’
    • ‘Strain the oyster liquid through a sieve to remove any grit and shell.’
    • ‘When the rice is done, drain it gently in a sieve or colander, letting the liquid run out of its own accord but not shaking it dry.’
    • ‘Push the tomato pulp through the sieve with a wooden spoon then discard the remains.’
    • ‘Using cheesecloth or a sieve, strain the ghee into a glass jar with a tight lid.’
    • ‘Push the cooking liquid through a fine sieve into a clean pan over a medium heat, and whisk in the butter till you have a glossy sauce.’
    • ‘Miniature gnocchi for putting into soup can be made by pressing the dough through a coarse sieve or a perforated spoon.’
    • ‘The researcher used a fine sieve to strain out remains of insects and small mammals from several sites.’
    • ‘Wash the lentils in a sieve under running water.’
    • ‘Puree the tomatoes and strain in a sieve into a container, retaining the juice.’
    • ‘Pour the curds into a sieve to remove all liquid and keep aside for two hours.’
    • ‘The sand collected from different locations are first washed, then dried and put through sieves to separate the large and small grains.’
    • ‘Takewaka strains the noodles by whipping an acorn-shaped sieve through the air in a dramatic figure-eight, splashing scalding water against a window between the kitchen and the restaurant and drawing gasps from startled diners.’
    strainer, sifter, filter, colander, riddle, screen, muslin cloth
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    1. 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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Your ship is leaking like a sieve, your career is in tatters and ‘this is not a good day’.’
      • ‘The band is loose but swings, the production is appropriately rough and leaking like a sieve, and the song selection draws from Burnside favorites.’

transitive verb

[with object]
  • 1Put (a food substance or other material) through a sieve.

    ‘sieve the flour and sugar together in a bowl’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The soil was sieved to remove any large aggregates and pieces of organic matter.’
    • ‘At the end of that time the rubbish is sieved, metal objects are removed with magnets and the immature compost is placed onto the maturation floor.’
    • ‘The various races included children dressed as postmen with sling bags delivering letters at the finishing line, or as bakers who sieved flour before scampering to finish the race.’
    • ‘Their model chocolate contains amorphous sugar particles - created by spray drying a mixture of corn syrup and sucrose and sieving the mixture to ensure that all the particles are the same size.’
    • ‘Gradually stir in the well beaten eggs and the flour which was earlier sieved with the baking powder.’
    • ‘When the olives are harvested, he explains, they have to be sieved to remove leaves, then washed, then pressed.’
    • ‘We were carefully removing the soil deposits and sieving them when a small piece of copper alloy came to our notice.’
    • ‘All surface sediments and core intervals were sieved with 1-mm, 106-m, and 63-m sieves, dried at 60°C, and weighed.’
    • ‘Each day we checked all bottles during daylight, sieved the residual millet left by nocturnally-foraging white-footed mice, recharged the sand with millet, and replaced each bottle in its original location.’
    • ‘They can gather up to 30 tons a day in summer, which is around five million cockles, each one raked and sieved by hand.’
    • ‘As the soil was very friable due to being sieved into all treatment plots, rows were lifted with a garden fork and the retrieved roots were taken as representative of the root system.’
    • ‘Soilsamples from the site were sieved for carbonised seeds and small bones, vital clues for building up a picture of the community and its inhabitants.’
    • ‘In most studies, bulk samples are sieved and all fossils of a specified size fraction are counted and identified.’
    • ‘Seeds were sieved from each tray, and the tray was charged with new seeds, which were thoroughly mixed into the sand.’
    • ‘The contents of culture flasks were sieved, rinsed, and blotted to remove as much water as practical.’
    • ‘For the cobbler topping, sieve the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and a pinch of salt into a bowl and add 50g of sugar and the lemon zest.’
    • ‘Pulp raspberries in a blender, sieve the sauce then add sugar to taste.’
    strain, sift, screen, filter, riddle
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1usually sieve something outRemove (unwanted items)
      • ‘filters sieve large particles out of the water to prevent them from harming the pumps’
    2. 1.2sieve throughno object Examine in detail.
      ‘lawyers had sieved through her contract’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Today began with another thoroughly reprehensible example of my almost excessive insecurity, sieved through a fine mesh of my permanently resident paranoia.’
      • ‘The trouble is, that clarity of thought and clarity of feeling have to be sieved through some very muddy waters, and those waters are oneself.’
      • ‘The alternate version was that the Taichung police worked with more than 600 broadband service providers to sieve through several hundred nicknames of online game players before identifying The Loner and the Plumber / Electrician.’
      • ‘But I tell her, you must, above all, know the sieve through which one life passes.’
      • ‘There may exist a concerted lobby of people from some communal organizations whose job is to sieve through the media everyday and send hateful letters to editors - using mostly fictitious names and addresses.’
      • ‘The ATV project manager, Robert Lainé, compared the CDR process to sieving through the complete programme to find possible bugs.’
      • ‘As I was sieving through the racks of CDs I saw a boy the other side of the shelf.’
      • ‘And out of long habit, his mind sieved through the rushing info, keeping some and filing it away, but letting most flow back out into the timeless cyber-sea.’


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