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See also: Sieve


Sieve in cooking


From Middle English sive, syfe, from Old English sife, from Proto-West Germanic *sibi (sieve), from Proto-Indo-European *seyp-, *seyb- (to pour, sieve, strain, run, drip). Akin to German Sieb, Dutch zeef, Proto-Slavic *sito (Russian си́то (síto), сев (sev), се́ять (séjatʹ)).


  • IPA(key): /sɪv/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪv


sieve (plural sieves)

  1. A device with a mesh bottom to separate, in a granular material, larger particles from smaller ones, or to separate solid objects from a liquid.
    Synonym: strainer
    Coordinate terms: sifter, sile, riddle
    Use the sieve to get the pasta from the water.
  2. A process, physical or abstract, that arrives at a final result by filtering out unwanted pieces of input from a larger starting set of input.
    Given a list of consecutive numbers starting at 1, the Sieve of Eratosthenes algorithm will find all of the prime numbers.
    • 2010, Luke Mastin, “20TH CENTURY MATHEMATICS - ROBINSON AND MATIYASEVICH”, in[1], retrieved 2013-09-08:
      Among, [sic] his other achievements, Matiyasevich and his colleague Boris Stechkin also developed an interesting “visual sieve” for prime numbers, which effectively “crosses out” all the composite numbers, leaving only the primes.
  3. (obsolete) A kind of coarse basket[1].
  4. (colloquial) A person, or their mind, that cannot remember things or is unable to keep secrets.
  5. (medicine, slang, derogatory) An intern who lets too many non-serious cases into the emergency room.
    • 1997, Leo Galland, The Four Pillars of Healing, page 25:
      To be a sieve was to lack clinical judgment, courage, and group loyalty all at once.
  6. (category theory) A collection of morphisms in a category whose codomain is a certain fixed object of that category, which collection is closed under precomposition by any morphism in the category.


Derived terms[edit]



sieve (third-person singular simple present sieves, present participle sieving, simple past and past participle sieved)

  1. To strain, sift or sort using a sieve.
  2. (sports) To concede; let in
    • 2017 June 3, Daniel Taylor, “Real Madrid win Champions League as Cristiano Ronaldo double defeats Juv”, in The Guardian (London)[2]:
      This was their seventh defeat out of nine finals, including five in a row, and the second half was a chastening experience for the Serie A champions, culminating in them sieving more goals in one match than in the rest of the competition put together.


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


  1. ^ 1858, Peter Lund Simmonds, The Dictionary of Trade Products

Further reading[edit]


Hunsrik cardinal numbers
 <  6 7 8  > 
    Cardinal : sieve
    Ordinal : sibt




  1. seven
    Das sin schun sieve Uher.
    That's already seven o'clock.

Further reading[edit]