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 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 Although recognized by her passengers for her infectious personality and signature shimmy pose, Pooser's mom says that behind her daughter's bright smile is a heart-wrenching health history. Ashley Vaughan, CNN, "This brave teen with Down syndrome is taking to the sky as a flight attendant despite a bleak prognosis," 25 June 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Back indeed, a healthier version of his wily, shimmying, quick-pitching self. Henry Schulman,, "Giants’ Johnny Cueto one-hits Pirates over 5 innings in victorious return," 10 Sep. 2019 Soon others joined her, women and children and men and elders, shimmying to a centuries-old sound. USA Today, "Were Wanda Tucker’s ancestors America’s first slaves? A difficult search for answers in far-away Angola," 22 Aug. 2019 Berrios shimmied, and Brady tossed the ball downfield, intending to drop it over the receiver’s right shoulder. Mike Jones, USA TODAY, "For Patriots' young receivers, pressure is on to step up for Tom Brady," 14 Aug. 2019 Most backcountry tramping involves climbing mountains using tree roots as a ladder or shimmying across precarious three-wire bridges (or just plain old river crossings) and wading through mud up to your chest. Liz Carlson, Outside Online, "8 Can't-Miss New Zealand Adventures," 24 June 2019 Smigel gets up to imitate the dance, keeping his feet in place while slightly swaying his hips and shimmying his arms with his fists clenched. Chris Boghossian,, "Da story behind Da Bears — and how the sausage-eating, Mike Ditka-obsessed, Chicago-aggrandizing Super Fans are still part of Chicago sports today," 3 Sep. 2019 The 49ers’ ever-energetic wide receiver has been seen shimmying this summer during pre-practice stretching, and between kicks during special-teams periods. Eric Branch,, "49ers WR Kendrick Bourne keeps boogying, even while on the bubble," 15 Aug. 2019 There’s no staircase, either, so Veevers-Carter shimmies down a ladder to the basement and leads me to a small patch of wall that still retains a bit of leaf-green paint. Cathy Alter,, "Julia Child’s D.C. home had lost its luster. But the owner plans to make it sparkle again.," 3 Sep. 2019 To help her dress, Colt moves her back onto the bed and rolls her side to side, shimmying her pant legs on a bit at a time. Los Angeles Times, "She got a full scholarship to Stanford. But can she afford the care she needs to go?," 2 Sep. 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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Statistics for shimmy

Last Updated

3 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for shimmy

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

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something of little or no value

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