skim·mer | \ ˈski-mər \

Definition of skimmer 

1 : one that skims specifically : a flat perforated scoop or spoon used for skimming

2 : any of a small genus (Rynchops) of long-winged marine birds that have the lower mandible longer than the upper

3 : a usually straw flat-crowned hat with a wide straight brim

4 : a fitted sleeveless dress with a usually flaring skirt

5 : a device that is attached to an electronic card reader (as on an ATM) and used to obtain data (such as a credit card number) secretly and illicitly The credit union said someone had fitted a skimmer over the ATM card slot to collect information on inserted cards but the company said it wasn't sure how many cards had been affected at this time.The Leader-Herald (Gloversville, NewYork) Once you put your card in, the device, called a skimmer, reads and records all the account information stored on the magnetic strip, and even retrieves your PIN as you punch it into the keypad. —Mary Hunt

Examples of skimmer in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The navel skimmer has been making a comeback for several seasons, including at Céline Fall 2018, Chanel Resort 2019, and even Cottweiler Spring 2019 men’s show. Madeline Fass, Vogue, "From Anklets to Toe Rings, This Is the Summer of Throwback Jewelry," 6 July 2018 On Memorial Day weekend, inspectors statewide found 70 skimmers. Tonya Alanez,, "Skimmer alert! Holiday travelers advised to pay cash for gas," 4 July 2018 Cleanup efforts continued Friday with more than 100 people, 29 boats and six skimmers contributing to the effort. Sara Sneath,, "Mississippi River reopens to ship traffic near French Quarter after fuel spill," 13 Apr. 2018 Koppeis was at the store investigating the different theft of credit card information from a gas station skimmer, according to court records. Michelle Hunter,, "Trio pleads guilty in federal court to credit card skimming scheme," 30 Sep. 2017 Other bills that were signed into law: PA 168 (SB 415): Require retail gas stations to have safety measures to guard against credit card skimmers. Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press, "Law eliminating life-without-parole drug sentences goes into effect," 8 Apr. 2018 Sightings in Nauset Marsh in Eastham included a royal tern, a Caspian tern, a black skimmer, a dunlin, and 3 American oystercatchers., "Bird sightings on Cape Cod," 24 June 2018 Protections for oil tankers crossing Prince William Sound will get major upgrades this summer, including beefy new tugs with more heat-sensing cameras to swiftly find spills and huge skimmers with fuzzy discs that sop up more oil. Alex Demarban, Anchorage Daily News, "Giant fuzzy discs and thermal cameras: New oil spill cleanup tech is coming to Alaska," 26 Jan. 2018 Experts estimate skimmer fraud costs consumers in the U.S. more than $1 billion annually. Staff Report, Houston Chronicle, "Precinct 5 seeks skimmer suspect," 17 May 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of skimmer

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about skimmer

Statistics for skimmer

Last Updated

21 Aug 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for skimmer

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for skimmer



English Language Learners Definition of skimmer

: a spoon with holes in it that is used by cooks for skimming things

More from Merriam-Webster on skimmer

See words that rhyme with skimmer Encyclopedia article about skimmer

Comments on skimmer

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


alleviating pain or harshness

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!