winnow down

Herb Stahlke hfwstahlke at GMAIL.COM
Sat Feb 16 23:42:46 UTC 2008

Just now on Tim Russert, Russert asked, "How can Clinton winnow down Obama's
lead?"  A female panelist shortly after said, "She can winnow it..." without
"down," probably picking up on Russert's use of the word.  Both of them used
it in the sense of "whittle down."  Google gives 390k hits for "winnow
down," but some of these are clearly "reduce selectively," as in "winnow
down your stock picks."  I take the latter use as similar to "winnow out,"
but the former seems to blend "whittle" and "winnow" phrases.


The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list