"Separate the wheat from the chaff"

Posted by ESC on August 20, 2002

In Reply to: Meaning of a phrase: "separate the wheat from the chaff" posted by Cesar Coriat on August 20, 2002

: Hello, can anyone help me understand what "separate the wheat from the chaff" means? TKS.

SEPARATE THE WHEAT FROM THE CHAFF - "Distinguish the wanted from the unwanted, the valuable from the relatively valueless. It is what one did literally in the ancient agricultural practice of winnowing, one form of which was to expose, say, wheat to the wind so that the chaff blew away and the grains remained.The thought appears metaphorically in the Bible, where John the Baptist, speaking of the one 'that cometh after me,' continues (Matthew 3:12) 'Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.'." From The Dictionary of Cliches by James Rogers (Ballantine Books, New York, 1985).