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


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

While today’s news is dominated by Versace’s rumored planned acquisition by Michael Kors, this weekend, all chatter surrounded the house’s latest collection, which saw runway veterans like Liya Kebede and Shalom Harlow shimmy on the catwalk. Edward Barsamian, Vogue, "Va-Va-Versace! Sabrina Carpenter Goes Inside the Spectacular Spring Show," 24 Sep. 2018 The variously slinky and driven choreography features such sidelights as pratfalls, teasingly competitive back-and-forth accents, sassy shoulder shimmies and snappy hand jives. Robert Greskovic, WSJ, "‘Minimalism and Me’ Review: Twyla Tharp Tells Her Story," 19 Nov. 2018 Then there would have to be a general acknowledgment, even among those who can’t stand Stephen Curry’s shimmy and Draymond Green’s Draymondness, that the Warriors are real. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, "The Warriors, looking beyond the moment to the greatness that awaits," 13 May 2018 After Niko shimmies into a red dress, Gvatua needs to strap him into the studded bra. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Meet Gerilyn, Tbilisi’s Queen of Drag," 21 Nov. 2018 The 30-year-old then followed up the shot with a shimmy celebration, much to his head coach's amusement. Nihal Kolur,, "Steve Kerr on Stephen Curry: 'If You Shimmy When You’re 1-11, That’s Confidence'," 21 May 2018 And sure enough, within seconds, Olivia somehow hoists herself herself over the crib and shimmies down to the ground. Aurelie Corinthios,, "Quintuplet Parents Struggle to Contain Their 'Little Escape Artist' as She Climbs Out of Crib," 10 July 2018 In the video, which dropped Tuesday morning—just hours after the exuberance of Memorial Day barbecues finally faded into workweek torpor—a visibly pregnant Cardi shimmies down the block, adorned in jewel tones and copious statement jewelry. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "Cardi B’s ‘I Like It’ Is the Song of the Summer," 29 May 2018 The point guard reacted with a shimmy as Curry ran by him. Jenna West,, "Watch: Chris Paul Shimmies in Stephen Curry's Face After Hitting a Three," 24 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Because the Magic and a few other progressive teams are starting to realize that having all-women dance teams shaking, shimmying and gyrating for the entertainment of a mostly male fan base seems a bit sexist. Mike Bianchi,, "Kudos to Orlando Magic for getting rid of all-woman dance team | Commentary," 11 June 2019 Many women took cues from Kahlo herself, adorning vibrant paper mache flowers in their hair; pom-pom tassels shimmied throughout the room. Zachary Schwartz, Vogue, "The Brooklyn Artists Ball Was a Frida Kahlo–Inspired Fiesta," 17 Apr. 2019 Consider a dress that turns traditional looming heddles into whooshing sequins that shimmied and whirred as the model walked down the runway, the sound itself a callback to the hubbub of a factory at its busiest hour. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "“I Really Feel Quite Lucky”—Sarah Burton Reflects on Her Magical Career at Alexander McQueen," 30 May 2019 Or perhaps Diggsy and Thielen, shimmying in their chairs, can turn this vision into reality too. Alex Prewitt,, "Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs Just Need Someone to Throw Them the Damn Ball," 10 Jan. 2018 The courts of Buckingham Palace, Clarence House, and Kensington Palace are set to shimmy into new positions to take the monarchy forward. Juliet Rieden, Town & Country, "How Queen Elizabeth Will Pass the Torch to Prince Charles and the Rest of the Royal Family in 2019," 5 Jan. 2019 Pretty much everyone here appears to be feeling the love, whether joyously shimmying on the dance floor or huddled around one of four horseshoe bars, grooving in place on their barstools. Samantha Melamed,, "Why Jerry Blavat loves me (and literally everyone else at Memories in Margate)," 11 July 2018 Instead of LeBron shimmying at Doris Burke during his postgame interview, Steph gets to smirk his way through clichés. Rohan Nadkarni,, "J.R. Smith Will Never Be Forgiven," 1 June 2018 Hers was an English-countryside childhood spent riding horses and shimmying up giant oaks. Vogue, "How These 12 Boundary-Breaking Designers Continue to Think Globally," 13 Aug. 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near shimmy





shimmy shirt



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The first known use of shimmy was in 1837

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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

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

Comments on shimmy

What made you want to look up shimmy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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