\ ˈskim How to pronounce skim (audio) \
skimmed; skimming

Definition of skim

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1a : to clear (a liquid) of scum or floating substance skim boiling syrup
b : to remove (a film, a layer of scum, etc.) from the surface of a liquid
c : to remove cream from by skimming
d : to remove the best or most easily obtainable contents from
2 : to read, study, or examine superficially and rapidly especially : to glance through (something, such as a book) for the chief ideas or the plot
3 : to throw in a gliding path especially : to throw so as to ricochet along the surface of water
4 : to cover with or as if with a film, scum, or coat
5 : to pass swiftly or lightly over
6a : to remove or conceal (money, such as a portion of casino profits) to avoid payment of taxes
b : embezzle skimming money from employee pension plans

intransitive verb

1a : to pass lightly or hastily : glide or skip along, above, or near a surface
b : to give a cursory glance, consideration, or reading
2 : to become coated with a thin layer of film or scum
3 : to put on a finishing coat of plaster
4 : to embezzle money



Definition of skim (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : a thin layer, coating, or film
2 : the act of skimming
3 : something skimmed specifically : skim milk



Definition of skim (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : having the cream removed by skimming
2 : made of skim milk skim cheese

Synonyms for skim

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of skim in a Sentence

Verb He skimmed the leaves from the pool. The cream is skimmed from the milk. The milk is skimmed before it is bottled. She only skimmed the reading assignment. She only skimmed through the reading assignment.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Also, don’t just skim the orientation materials that are sent to you and toss them aside. Adam Weinberg For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, 15 May 2022 For a leaner gravy, skim any solid fat from the top of the container of vegetables and pan juices. San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 Apr. 2022 All those photos are taking up valuable space in our phones, so take some time to skim through your albums, find what’s useful, and delete the rest. Aley Arion, Essence, 24 Mar. 2022 An asteroid that's as wide as the Eiffel Tower is tall — called 4660 Nereus (or 1982 DB) — is expected to skim past Earth on Dec. 11. Skyler Caruso,, 1 Dec. 2021 Use a large metal spoon to skim the fat from the surface of the sauce., 2 Nov. 2021 Included with the machine are a juice jug, which comes with a froth separator to help skim off that foam, and a cleaning brush. Lauren Joseph, Bon Appétit, 17 Mar. 2022 The little buggers then would float to the top, and the soldiers would skim them off. Tribune News Service, cleveland, 14 Feb. 2022 As expected, New York City will walk a tightrope so to speak, the edge of the band likely to skim the city for hours on end. Washington Post, 27 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In addition to the pond skim on Saturday, there will be a costume contest, an idiot swim, live music, a downhill bike race, and more. Naomi Stock, Anchorage Daily News, 21 Apr. 2022 Loose circles of ice floated in harbor, and the hull broke through a skim of shore ice as the crew tied the boat to the Trident Seafoods dock. Anchorage Daily News, 4 Apr. 2022 Costumes are required for the pond skim contest, which costs $20 to enter. Naomi Stock, Anchorage Daily News, 24 Mar. 2022 Chocolate milk nutrition Just like unsweetened, unflavored milk, chocolate milk is available in the forms of whole (3.5% fat by weight), 2%, 1%, and skim. Cynthia Sass, Mph,, 7 Jan. 2022 Relax on the beach, see marine creatures in the tide pools, or enjoy water sports like kayaking, paddleboarding, surfing, or skim boarding, which actually started in Laguna Beach. Elizabeth Rhodes, Travel + Leisure, 8 Feb. 2022 Today, there’s a skim of snow on the ground overtop of this feather moss that just covers the forest floor. Emily Schwing, Scientific American, 14 Dec. 2021 These masters of balance and strength skim the river from spring thaw until the hectic boat traffic of fall that precedes the Head of the Charles, when nearly 2,000 boats race a notoriously winding 3-mile course. Bethany Ericson, The Christian Science Monitor, 13 Oct. 2021 Roper does not archive online polls, but a quick skim of the major ones suggests that the online pollsters haven’t tuned into the topic yet either. Karlyn Bowman, Forbes, 16 Sep. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'skim.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of skim


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1794, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for skim


Middle English skymmen, skemen, probably from Anglo-French escumer, from escume foam, scum, of Germanic origin; akin to Middle Dutch schum scum — more at scum

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Time Traveler for skim

Time Traveler

The first known use of skim was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near skim



ski mask

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Last Updated

19 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Skim.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for skim


\ ˈskim How to pronounce skim (audio) \
skimmed; skimming

Kids Definition of skim

1 : to clean a liquid of scum or floating substance : remove (as cream or film) from the top part of a liquid
2 : to read or examine quickly and not thoroughly I skimmed the newspaper.
3 : to skip (a stone) along the surface of water
4 : to pass swiftly or lightly over He brushed the treetops / And skimmed the grass …— Shel Silverstein, Where the Sidewalk Ends

More from Merriam-Webster on skim

Nglish: Translation of skim for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of skim for Arabic Speakers


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