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 Tracee Ellis Ross fluffed her wig, did a little shoulder shimmy and became a Florida retiree from the 1980s. Melena Ryzik, New York Times, "Black Stars, Classic Sitcoms and a Serious Message: Vote," 6 Oct. 2020 One shimmy of a sudden line suddenly strikes through it all. Vona Groarke, The New York Review of Books, "A Poetry Manual," 22 Sep. 2020 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb When there were no spare keys or digital locks, Mr. Shuai had no choice but to get creative and, well, catlike, climb over walls, scale fire escapes, shimmy up rusty pipes and crawl through windows. New York Times, "A Flying Elephant, a Teacher’s Hugs: 12 Tales of Pandemic Resilience," 24 Dec. 2020 To get that mRNA into your cells, the vaccine designers put it in a fatty envelope that has the same chemical characteristics as certain proteins that can shimmy their way through our cell membranes. Katherine Ellen Foley, Quartz, "The most exciting thing about Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine isn’t that it works," 10 Nov. 2020 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 Overpass is a climbing challenge in which people have to climb up and over a beam, or shimmy across it. Charles Infosino,, "So, what's Coney Island gonna be like with no rides?," 12 June 2020 The decoys in the water will shimmy along with the MOJO, adding plenty of duck-attracting motion to the spread. Joseph Albanese, Outdoor Life, "4 Off-Season Waterfowl Projects that Will Improve Your Decoy Spread (and Your Home)," 26 May 2020 In other words, the program learns how a soccer player moves, and can then animate the character jogging, sprinting, and shimmying by itself. Will Knight, Wired, "Gamemakers Inject AI to Develop More Lifelike Characters," 27 May 2020 The baby was practically dancing, wriggling and squirming and shimmying for us on the screen. Robin Amer, USA Today, "I was panicking over coronavirus. Then I heard my baby’s heartbeat.," 22 Apr. 2020 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

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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Cite this Entry

“Shimmy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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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.

More from Merriam-Webster on shimmy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shimmy Encyclopedia article about shimmy

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