chaff

The proverbial phrase "separate the wheat from the chaff" may not be terribly meaningful to you — unless you happen to be a grain farmer. Then, it is good to know that chaff is the husk surrounding a seed, and that it is generally thrown away.

In cereal crops like rice, barley, oats, and wheat, the seed — the part of the plant that we eat — is surrounded by a husk. This waste material has been called chaff since the twelfth century at least, but the word has a long history as a metaphor meaning "objects and ideas of little or no value," as well. The Internet is full of misinformation as well as facts so you might have a hard time separating the wheat from the chaff. Their nasty comments are just a lot of chaff — don't even listen to them.

PRIMARY MEANINGS OF: chaff

1
n
material consisting of seed coverings and small pieces of stem or leaves that have been separated from the seeds
2
n
foil in thin strips; ejected into the air as a radar countermeasure
3
v
be silly or tease one another
FULL DEFINITIONS OF: chaff
1

n material consisting of seed coverings and small pieces of stem or leaves that have been separated from the seeds

Synonyms:
husk, shuck, stalk, straw, stubble
Types:
bran
broken husks of the seeds of cereal grains that are separated from the flour by sifting
Type of:
plant material, plant substance
material derived from plants
2

n foil in thin strips; ejected into the air as a radar countermeasure

Type of:
foil
a piece of thin and flexible sheet metal
3

v be silly or tease one another

Synonyms:
banter, jolly, josh, kid
Type of:
bait, cod, rag, rally, razz, ride, tantalise, tantalize, taunt, tease, twit
harass with persistent criticism or carping
WORD FAMILY
USAGE EXAMPLES