winnowing machine

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winnowing machine (plural winnowing machines)

  1. A machine which winnows grain
    • 1843 April, Thomas Carlyle, “ch. VIII, The Election”, in Past and Present, American edition, Boston, Mass.: Charles C[offin] Little and James Brown, published 1843, →OCLC, book II (The Ancient Monk):
      Thus, then, have the St. Edmundsbury Monks, without express ballot-box or other good winnowing-machine, contrived to accomplish the most important social feat a body of men can do, to winnow out the man that is to govern them […] Ballot-boxes, Reform Bills, winnowing-machines: all these are good, or are not so good; — alas, brethren, how can these, I say, be other than inadequate, be other than failures, melancholy to behold?