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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ But it does distill the issue to the question on which tax policy should stand or fall: fairness.
▪ My task has been to simplify the subject without oversimplifying, to distill without losing essence.
▪ On the various shelves were set items of laboratory equipment: retorts, beakers, distilling tubes and burners.
▪ The essential is to keep on distilling down, and following ruthlessly the consequences of the dreams.
▪ The most notable of these were the silk, paper, sail canvas, and gin distilling industries.
▪ Water could be extracted by distilling or melting blocks of permafrost.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Distill \Dis*till"\, v. i. [imp. & p. p. Distilled; p. pr. & vb. n. Distilling.] [F. distiller, from L. destillare, destillatum; de + stillare to drop, stilla a drop, prob. fr. stiria frozen drop, icicle; prob. akin to stare, E. stand. Cf. Still, n. & v., Instill.] [Written also distil.]

  1. To drop; to fall in drops; to trickle.

    Soft showers distilled, and suns grew warm in vain.

  2. To flow gently, or in a small stream.

    The Euphrates distilleth out of the mountains of Armenia.
    --Sir W. Raleigh.

  3. To practice the art of distillation.


Distill \Dis*till"\, v. t.

  1. To let fall or send down in drops.

    Or o'er the glebe distill the kindly rain.

    The dew which on the tender grass The evening had distilled.

  2. To obtain by distillation; to subject to a process of evaporation and subsequent condensation; to extract by distillation, as spirits, essential oil, etc.; to rectify; as, to distill brandy from wine; to distill alcoholic spirits from grain; to distill essential oils from flowers, etc.; to distill fresh water from sea water. ``Distilling odors on me.''

  3. To subject to distillation; as, to distill molasses in making rum; to distill barley, rye, corn, etc.

  4. To dissolve or melt. [R.]

    Swords by the lightning's subtle force distilled.

  5. to extract out and present the essence of; to shorten and refine; to present the essential elements of; -- of ideas or texts.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

also distil, late 14c., from Old French distiller (14c.), from Latin distillare "trickle down in minute drops," from dis- "apart" (see dis-) + stillare "to drip, drop," from stilla "drop." Related: Distilled; distilling.


vb. 1 (lb en transitive) To subject a substance to distillation. 2 (lb en intransitive) To undergo or be produced by distillation. 3 (lb en transitive) To make by means of distillation, especially whisky. 4 (lb en transitive) To exude in small drops. 5 (lb en transitive) To impart in small quantities. 6 (lb en transitive) To extract the essence of; concentrate; purify. 7 (lb en intransitive) To trickle down or fall in small drops; ooze out. 8 (lb en intransitive) To be manifested gently or gradually. 9 (lb en intransitive) To drip or be wet with.

  1. v. remove impurities from, increase the concentration of, and separate through the process of distillation; "purify the water" [syn: purify, sublimate, make pure]

  2. undergo the process of distillation [syn: distil]

  3. extract by the process of distillation; "distill the essence of this compound" [syn: extract, distil]

  4. undergo condensation; change from a gaseous to a liquid state and fall in drops; "water condenses"; "The acid distills at a specific temperature" [syn: condense, distil]

  5. give off (a liquid); "The doctor distilled a few drops of disinfectant onto the wound" [syn: distil]

Distill (album)

Distill is the fourth album by American composer Bill Laswell to be issued under the moniker Divination. It was released on February 20, 1996 by Sub Meta.

Usage examples of "distill".

I shall distill it again, to see if I can’t filter out that hint of hydro-telluride.

There she talked to Behazin and Ulrina, who promised to distill the unmagic from the silk they had gathered at Rokat House the day before.

He could distill most humanoids down to the common needs and fears—Terrans, Romulans, Klingons, even other Cardassians.

As she grows older, she’ll distill the ugly truth that her father freely executed torment when no crime had been committed.

I shall distill it again, to see if I can't filter out that hint of hydro-telluride.

Then Moreta would distill and mix medicines from the Weyr's dangerously depleted stores.

The streets are crammed with people who have had the most extra­ordinary experiences -- been shipwrecked, chased out of Caliph's harems, blown sky-high by bombs -- and it hasn't meant a thing to them, because they couldn't distill it.

Everybody claims to have been in love, but to love so that you can afterward distill something from it which makes other people know what love is or reminds them forcibly -- that takes an artist.

There would be enough of the stuff suspended in the liquid for her to distill and use.

The first step was to distill from the lake water enough of the materia stellans to make a tincture strong enough to affect the user's card.

She was forced to work only at night, without the helping solar harmonies, but by the day of the betrothal she had managed to distill three full liters of aqua intacta.

He would argue that if you could catch a snowflake, melt it, and distill its water, you could extract some essence that would be the embodiment of its nature in the physical world, and account for its shape.