SIEVE (O.E. sife, older sibi, cf. Dutch zeef, Ger. Sieb; from the subst. comes O.E. si] tan, to sift), an instrument or apparatus for separating finer particles from coarser. The common sieve is a net of wires or other material stretched across a framework with raised edges; the material to be sifted is then shaken or pressed upon the net so that the finer particles pass through the mesh and the coarser remain. The word " screen " is usually applied to such instruments with large mesh for coarse work, and " strainer " for those used in the separation of liquids or semi-liquids from solid 'matter. In the separation of meal from bran " bolting-clothes " are used. There was an early form of divination known as coscinomancy (Gr. Kbamvov, sieve, fiavrela, divination), where a sieve was hung or attached to a pair of shears, whence the name sometimes given to it of " sieve and shears "; the turning or movement of the sieve at the naming of a person suspected of a crime or other act, coupled with the repetition of an incantation or other magic formula, decided the guilt or innocence of the person.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)