A machine or device that removes dangerous or unwanted materials from a substance passing through it is called a filter. A kitchen water filter makes the water safer to drink — and also taste better.
Cars have many different filters, each of which takes impurities out of air, fuel, or water before it enters the car's engine. Most coffee makers require paper filters that allow brewed coffee to flow into the pot while leaving the coffee grounds behind. Filter is also a verb, meaning to strain or remove particular particles. The Medieval Latin root is filtrum, or "felt," which was used by early chemists to strain liquids, especially when purifying water.