Definition of shimmy in English:


Line breaks: shimmy
Pronunciation: /ˈʃɪmi

noun (plural shimmies)

  • 1A kind of ragtime dance in which the whole body shakes or sways.
    More example sentences
    • "If this was a shimmy competition you'd win first prize, but it's not," one of the judges said.
    • "I suppose that is why you work with so many plays," said Charlotte, "showing everyone the proper way to do a shimmy or a waltz."
    • After trouble teaching her the shimmy, he described his challenge to the camera: "Bristol is really shy, she's never performed in front of anybody and she's only in the public eye because of her mom."
  • 1.1A shake or sway of the body.
    More example sentences
    • Even heard on your iPod, it should at least provide a few head-bops and maybe a shimmy or two.
    • She made a tiny, uncontrollable shimmy with her hips.
    • I laced my arm around Keith's waist and gave a little shimmy and a wink.
  • 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
    • Whenever he drives too fast - whenever the needle on his speedometer goes above 40 - the car develops a dangerous shimmy.
    • The mechanic informs him that he cannot fix the shimmy.
    • If I strap my 10-pound mechanic's bag to the top of the rear rack, then the shimmy is so bad that hands free riding at any speed is out of the question.
  • 3 archaic informal term for chemise.
    More 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] Back to top  
  • 1Dance the shimmy.
    More example sentences
    • He gyrates, shimmies, shakes his ass.
    • Constantine shimmied until beads of perspiration gathered on his shiny forehead.
    • For two 50-minute sets the crowd shrugged and shimmied to the rhythm of a more blithe and brilliant era.
  • 1.1Shake or sway the body.
    More example sentences
    • He danced, pranced, shimmied and shook; his energy was electric.
    • More than twice he was enticed into a rash challenge as the Dutchman shimmied this way then that, but twice he was booked for them.
    • She giggled, shimmied and cooed her way through the pre-awards interviews, her hair dyed flaming ginger-red styled in soft-permed pigtails, like a toy doll.
  • 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
    • She shimmied over, introduced herself, and he said 'I'm delighted to meet you.'
    • He found a couple of kids who, for $5 each, shimmied up the trees and plucked the fruit.
    • He quickly shimmied up the ladder to the hay loft, reaching down to help Amelia up.
  • 3Shake or vibrate abnormally: he braked hard and felt the car shimmy dangerously
    More example sentences
    • I knew how the steering wheel felt, always shimmying a little under your hands because there was no way you could keep the front end aligned.
    • 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.


early 20th century: of unknown origin.

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