• Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Temse A sieve.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n temse A sieve; a searce; a bolter; a strainer. See the quotation from “Notes and Queries.” According to a common statement, the proverbial saying “He'll never set the Thames on fire” (that is, he'll never make any figure in the world) contains this word in a corrupt form. “The temse was a corn-sieve which was worked in former times over the receiver of the sifted flour. A hard-working, active man would not unfrequently ply the temse so quickly as to set fire to the wooden hoop at the bottom.” (Brewer.) No evidence for this statement appears. The word Thames was in Middle English Temse, etc., Anglo-Saxon Temese.
    • temse To sift.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Temse tems a sieve
    • v.t Temse to sift
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
F. tamis, or D. tems, teems,. Cf. Tamine


In literature:

We strain a thing through a temse.
"The Parson O' Dumford" by George Manville Fenn