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 The agency says more than 3,500 owners have complained to the company and government about frame weld problems or steering issues including a shimmy or wobble, looseness, or locking up. San Diego Union-Tribune, "US opens probe of steering problems, welds in Jeep Wranglers," 20 Sep. 2019 His rock-star moves were mostly limited to gracious waves, barely detectable hip shimmies and the occasional tickled grin. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Bryan Ferry is an ageless wonder at Copley Symphony Hall concert," 28 Aug. 2019 The museum is open only on Sundays and will celebrate Museum Day on Sept. 22. • Burlesque Hall of Fame in Las Vegas: The world’s only burlesque museum gives a wink and a shimmy to the oft-saucy theatrical art form. Washington Post, "More than 1,500 ways to celebrate Museum Day on Sept. 21," 21 Sep. 2018 At the top of the box, the captain cut one way, ducked the other and then tugged the ball back to shimmy free of his defender. Julia Poe, Pro Soccer USA, "Nani leads Orlando City to dig out 3-3 draw against New England Revolution," 5 Aug. 2019 The double scored Michael Chavis with the Sox’ eighth run of the night, gave Betts those 14 total bases, and was even celebrated by the man himself with a signature (if mini) shimmy. Tara Sullivan,, "Getting Mookie Betts to smile again? Easy as 1-2-3," 27 July 2019 That shimmy would make Johnny Cueto jealous, and that high leg kick is textbook Bronson Arroyo. Jon Tayler,, "There's No Villain in the Madison Bumgarner-Max Muncy Spat," 11 June 2019 Your car might whistle or screech, thump or groan, or decide to engage you in a game of charades with a performative shimmy. Mac Demere, Popular Mechanics, "11 Things Your Car Is Trying to Tell You," 2 Aug. 2019 But the delicate orbital shimmies and robotic arms that allow one satellite to help another could also be used without consent or goodwill. The Economist, "Attacking satellites is increasingly attractive—and dangerous," 18 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb After his final basket, a momentum-swinging 3-pointer from the corner, Millsap shimmied to the crowd and momentarily shed his veteran guise. Mike Singer, The Denver Post, "Nuggets win fourth in a row, survive Celtics’ furious fourth-quarter comeback," 22 Nov. 2019 Vince really could have used a lesson in interpersonal politicking – something that Sandra and Rob are both experts at – rather than how to shimmy under a tree branch. Stephen Fishbach,, "Survivor Recap: Making the Worst of a Bad Situation," 9 Oct. 2019 As police later reconstructed it, Mark Willey had shimmied up the tree with his rifle slung over his back. oregonlive, "The tragic, redemptive journey of one human heart," 5 Oct. 2019 The first was able to shimmy out from under the tank, but Clement was severely injured. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Squadron leaders warned of dangerous helicopter ‘hot seat’ hours before sailor fatally injured, report finds," 5 Aug. 2019 The nadir might’ve come with 2:30 left in the third quarter, when Trae Young took the ball past the timeline and shimmied past Nuggets guard Will Barton into open real estate along the right elbow. Sean Keeler, The Denver Post, "Monte Morris: Nuggets “just weren’t there” vs. Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks," 13 Nov. 2019 Human Nature is shimmying into the ARIA Hall of Fame. Lars Brandle, Billboard, "Human Nature to Be Inducted into ARIA Hall of Fame," 1 Nov. 2019 On a recent weekday, however, the children shimmied their way through team-building exercises. New York Times, "At a School for Suicide Bombers’ Children, Dancing, Drawing and Deradicalization," 18 Oct. 2019 As in just one second, a player can shimmy the ball onto his left foot and curl it into the top corner of the net., "Luka Modric: The Only Other Ballon d'Or Winner of the Decade," 9 Oct. 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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Statistics for shimmy

Last Updated

1 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Shimmy.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 10 December 2019.

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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 state or do over again or repeatedly

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