Definition of shimmy in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈʃɪmi/

noun (plural shimmies)

1A kind of ragtime dance in which the whole body shakes or sways.
Example sentences
  • Her revue included vernacular forms like the shimmy, black bottom, shorty George and the cakewalk.
  • The shimmy was named dance of the year.
  • The 1920s, self-evidently, were the era of the bottle party and the Bright Young Things, the Charleston and the shimmy, cigarette holders and mock Tudor.
1.1A shake or sway of the body.
Example sentences
  • We had to move our hips around and do a shimmy, so it took a while for us to actually get the hang of it.
  • She is vocally more fiery and seductive than her all-purpose shimmy and coy smile suggest.
  • He beat the final defender with a delightful little shimmy before trotting round to touch down between the posts.
2 [mass noun] Shaking, especially abnormal vibration of the wheels of a motor vehicle: steering stabilizers reduce shimmy even from oversized tyres
More example sentences
  • Passing 120 knots, with an abort speed of 133 knots, I felt an increase in the nose wheel shimmy on my jet.
  • Greater fork trail gives the bike greater stability, but it does not necessarily reduce shimmy.
  • Now there is barely a hint of scuttle shake, and the odd shimmy and wobble you do still sense is no worse than in many saloons.
3 archaic informal term for chemise.
Example sentences
  • Even though people called her poor and trash, she wore her red shimmy and smiled and studied like every other student.
  • We never wore our own clothes while we were there - we only wore a shimmy and a grey frock and one petticoat, made of the same as the frock, but no flannel petticoat or drawers.

verb (shimmies, shimmying, shimmied)

[no object]
1Dance the shimmy.
Example sentences
  • She stopped and started shimmying to the music.
  • Tasha pulled me into a tight circle and started shimmying.
  • For the last minute, Clarence had been lying on his back, shimmying and kicking his legs, almost as if he was listening to James Brown and dancing, but upside down.
1.1Shake or sway the body.
Example sentences
  • Emma spun and shimmied and raised her arms and flicked her hair.
  • She mimes and shimmies through her songs.
  • She is so over-the-top that she's fun to watch: shimmying and shaking, flashing her teeth, and rolling her eyes.
2 [with adverbial of direction] Move effortlessly; glide with a swaying motion: her hair swung in waves as she shimmied down the catwalk
More example sentences
  • Adrienne was shimmying down the hallway, oblivious to the world around her.
  • You couldn't shimmy up a drain pipe, could you?
  • When Chris had offered to teach the kid to shimmy up the mast, he had replied with the simple words "I'm too clumsy".
3Shake or vibrate abnormally: he braked hard and felt the car shimmy dangerously
More example sentences
  • A frame that will not shimmy for a light rider often will shimmy under a heavier rider.
  • It is not an indicator of instability; even though the bike is highly unstable when shimmying, it can be an extremely stable bike just a few miles per hour slower.
  • Plus, with its magical smoothness, it's unflappable in bumpy corners, carving where other bikes are bouncing and shimmying.


Early 20th century: of unknown origin.

Words that rhyme with shimmy

gimme, Timmy

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: shimmy

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