shim·​my | \ ˈshi-mē How to pronounce shimmy (audio) \
plural shimmies

Definition of shimmy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 [by alteration] : chemise
2 [short for shimmy-shake] : a jazz dance characterized by a shaking of the body from the shoulders down
3 : an abnormal vibration especially in the front wheels of a motor vehicle


shimmied; shimmying

Definition of shimmy (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to shake, quiver, or tremble in or as if in dancing a shimmy
2 : to vibrate abnormally used especially of automobiles
3 : shinny

Examples of shimmy in a Sentence

Verb They were shimmying on the dance floor. I shimmied into my jacket. One of the car's wheels was shimmying.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun When the time comes to couple up, males will shake, shimmy and waggle their rears in an astounding display of eight-legged choreography. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "See Seven New Dazzling, Dancing Peacock Spiders," 31 Mar. 2020 Then each family member performs a little shimmy to reveal the next person. Amy Haneline, USA TODAY, "Fun and easy TikTok dances to learn with your family while you're quarantined at home," 22 Apr. 2020 Crouse has quirky delivery, complete with Johnny Cueto hip shimmy, and can throw from several different arm angles to keep hitters off balance. Dallas News, "Scouting the Rangers’ top prospects, No. 9: Hans Crouse keeps hitters off balance, but this is what he needs to add to his arsenal," 7 Apr. 2020 Sorry, Samir, but unfortunately for all of us the next shimmy might have to wait for the Big Dance. Joseph Goodman |, al, "For Samir Doughty and Auburn, the dancing must wait," 12 Feb. 2020 His shimmy dance has made its rounds online, as well. Dominique Yates, The Courier-Journal, "Need a laugh? Check out Louisville's Chris Mack joining in on the latest TikTok dance craze," 22 Mar. 2020 Our cause célèbre makes for shimmies and shakes the world over. al, "Masked Observer declares Mobile ‘THE place for Mardi Gras’," 5 Feb. 2020 Drinks in hand, attendees made their way toward the dance floor, where DJ duo The Martinez Brothers inspired the fashionable crowd to shimmy and shake along to the music. Vogue, "Halsey Serenaded Cara Delevingne, Kendall Jenner, Donna Karan and More at DKNY’s 30th Birthday Bash," 10 Sep. 2019 Clearly, our human brains also have evolved to sway, shimmy and shake our bodies along to music. Susan Pinker, WSJ, "Humans and Other Dancing Animals," 25 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb While that’s going on, open up one can of low-sodium Spam and shimmy it out of the container—but don’t toss the packaging just yet. Elyse Inamine, Bon Appétit, "Spam Musubi is My Little Packet of Sunshiny Happiness," 12 Mar. 2020 By shimmying after deep 3-pointers, dribbling around defenders and forcing opponents to guard out to midcourt, Curry is one of the most daunting matchups in NBA history. Connor Letourneau,, "Why Warriors believe Steph Curry can raise Andrew Wiggins’ game," 6 Mar. 2020 And yes, there were gyrating hips and shimmying sequins. Joey Guerra, Houston Chronicle, "Jennifer Lopez and Shakira showcase la fuerza de Latinos at Super Bowl LIV halftime show," 2 Feb. 2020 At the latter, where students blocked a vital tunnel link, a police siege has lasted days, with protesters trying to escape via sewers and by shimmying down ropes to avoid violent arrest and beatings. Jane Li, Quartz, "“30 years ago, you supported us”: Hong Kong campus sieges strike a chord with Chinese students," 21 Nov. 2019 For a little more than an hour Friday, jurors saw surveillance video that showed three Bexar County jail inmates dressed in white T-shirts and boxer shorts shimmy down bedsheets that were tied together. Elizabeth Zavala,, "Like a movie scene, Bexar County jurors watch 3 escaping inmates shimmy down sheets as trial begins," 18 Oct. 2019 Wallace repeatedly pressed Comey on critical findings in the Horowitz IG report, and Comey shimmied and dodged, in a master class in slipperiness and evasion. Rich Lowry, National Review, "The Slippery James Comey Gets Nailed," 16 Dec. 2019 Beyoncé shaking and shimmying alongside Prince, and Eminem and Elton John performing together. Washington Post, "After 40 Years, Grammy show producer bows out his way," 23 Jan. 2020 But with the crowd hushed in anticipation, Brad Marchand couldn’t shimmy and shake his way to a tying goal., "A 3-2 shootout loss to the Islanders was the seventh setback in eight games for the Bruins (21-7-8), in a matchup of the second- and third-best teams in the East.," 20 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shimmy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of shimmy


1837, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1919, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for shimmy

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The first known use of shimmy was in 1837

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Last Updated

18 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Shimmy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for shimmy



English Language Learners Definition of shimmy

: to move or shake your body from side to side
US : to vibrate or move very quickly from side to side


shim·​my | \ ˈshi-mē How to pronounce shimmy (audio) \
shimmied; shimmying

Kids Definition of shimmy

: to move the body from side to side I shimmied into my jacket.

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More from Merriam-Webster on shimmy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shimmy

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shimmy Encyclopedia article about shimmy

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