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. The chaff is the husk surrounding a seed, the part of the grain that 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.

Definitions of chaff
  1. noun
    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
    see moresee less
    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. noun
    foil in thin strips; ejected into the air as a radar countermeasure
    see moresee less
    type of:
    foil
    a piece of thin and flexible sheet metal
  3. verb
    be silly or tease one another
    synonyms: banter, jolly, josh, kid
    see moresee less
    type of:
    bait, cod, rag, rally, razz, ride, tantalise, tantalize, taunt, tease, twit
    harass with persistent criticism or carping
Word Family