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shim·​my ˈshi-mē How to pronounce shimmy (audio)
plural shimmies
[by alteration] : chemise
[short for shimmy-shake] : a jazz dance characterized by a shaking of the body from the shoulders down
: an abnormal vibration especially in the front wheels of a motor vehicle


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shimmied; shimmying

intransitive verb

: to shake, quiver, or tremble in or as if in dancing a shimmy
: to vibrate abnormally
used especially of automobiles
: 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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Children and adults alike wave rally flags, smack thunder sticks together and dance along to pulsing music as the Liberty’s mascot, Ellie the Elephant, twerks and shimmies around the court. Claire Fahy, New York Times, 11 Oct. 2023 Anderson calls a timeout and shimmies into the luggage hold to defrost the Labatt Blue., 24 July 2023 Although the dancers in the ensemble moved in unison, their performance was personalized and established a character arc for each performer within the cheeky choreography — shimmies and all. Steven Vargas, Los Angeles Times, 30 Aug. 2023 The exuberance and confidence informed her array of disarming moves — pop-and-lock combinations, aggressive shimmies, shoulder rolls, rump shakes, move-outta-the-way prances — usually executed in choreographed routines with her dance squad. Bob Gendron, Chicago Tribune, 23 July 2023 A couple holding cocktails by the bar shimmy; two women heading for the restrooms are compelled to dance their way through the crowd. Sophia Solano, Washington Post, 1 June 2023 He was greeted in the locker room with a celebration spray and broke out in a handroll and a few shimmies. 2022 Sweet 16 berth After beating No. 2 Auburn in the second round of the 2022 tournament, Miami was headed back to the Sweet 16. Victoria Hernandez, USA TODAY, 1 Apr. 2023 Sporting dramatic makeup and a short, purple-ish updo, Ursula whips around her tentacles and shimmies through the sea alongside her sidekicks Flotsam and Jetsam while belting the evil anthem. Rebecca Rubin, Variety, 26 Apr. 2023 Young sheepishly downplayed the shimmy. Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY, 24 June 2021
But the auroras on Mars can shimmy close to the equator, since no planetary field confines them. Shi En Kim, Smithsonian Magazine, 18 Oct. 2023 Danilo Cavalcante, facing life in prison for murder, had shimmied his way out of the Chester County jail Aug. 31 and was on the run in exurbs of eastern Pennsylvania. Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs,, 16 Sep. 2023 Siriano and Sia hugged and shimmied together when the designer came out for a victory lap after the final model left the catwalk, and the crowd gave him a thunderous standing ovation. Anika Reed usa Today, USA TODAY, 9 Sep. 2023 Its Tiffany blue hue was ideal and ethereal texture ideal for shimmying ‘til dawn. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, 26 Aug. 2023 Paca frequently says, shimmying his giant shoulder pads and blowing smoke out of his glossy lips. Edgar Gomez, Los Angeles Times, 15 Aug. 2023 The scale of the works often suggests microscopic life, but some of the shimmering, shimmying forms could just as easily be galactic. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 18 Aug. 2023 Still, the propeller plane went down, and the advertising banner chased it, and the beach grass shimmied, and chocolate milk flew from my mother’s thermos. Matthew Gavin Frank, Harper's Magazine, 2 June 2023 On Tuesday, Rodgers sang with fierce intensity, danced Tina’s trademark shimmying steps to perfection and credibly matured from gawky teen to suicidal abuse victim to confident and no-nonsense superstar. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, 26 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'shimmy.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1837, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1919, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of shimmy was in 1837

Dictionary Entries Near shimmy

Cite this Entry

“Shimmy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

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