\ 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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Last night, hairstylist Chris Appleton took to Instagram to share a snap of J Lo's latest haircut: a shoulder-skimming bronde chop run through with baby blonde highlights that skewed more sand-strewn than winter-is-coming. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Jennifer Lopez’s New Haircut Brings Summertime Swagger to the Holiday Season," 12 Nov. 2019 Use one-time-use credit cards, which can be skimmed without consequence. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, "Hackers hover near online shopping carts, too. It's called e-skimming," 23 Oct. 2019 Text requires reading, or skimming at least, and video demands time. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "Video Games Are Better Without Game-Play," 22 Oct. 2019 Instead, the partners were shifting money from new investors to old investors, while skimming millions off the top. Tim Prudente,, "Towson millionaire facing up to 32-year prison sentence for cheating investors in massive Ponzi scheme," 10 Oct. 2019 In the waters off Guam, the USS Gabrielle Giffords fired off a Naval Strike Missile (NSM), a sea-skimming cruise missile that is difficult to spot on radar, and can maneuver to avoid enemy defenses. Brad Lendon, CNN, "US tested new missile in the Pacific as China paraded weapons," 3 Oct. 2019 Watson also wore blouson sleeves which fell off the shoulder as a stark contrast to a body-skimming red dress. Melissa Magsaysay, The Hollywood Reporter, "Emmys: The Unexpected Color Combination to Emerge on Red Carpet," 23 Sep. 2019 The actress, 35, wore a custom color-block Brandon Maxwell gown featuring an off-the-shoulder hot pink bodice and body-skimming red skirt with a high slit. Brittany Talarico,, "Mandy Moore's Color-Block Brandon Maxwell Emmys Gown Needs to Be Seen from All Angles," 22 Sep. 2019 For this fall there are all sorts of body-skimming knits, most of them pullover styles with a round, mock or turtle neck. Sharon Graubard,, "Fashion report: Cool classics for fall," 15 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Sample menus replaced hot dogs with whole wheat spaghetti, pizza sticks with chef salads, and whole milk with skim. Elaine S. Povich,, "Students, bored by cafeteria fare, love food delivery services; schools don’t.," 1 Aug. 2019 Though some dietitians continue to recommend low-fat or part-skim options, recent research suggests that this, too, might be a more complex issue. Jenna Birch, Washington Post, "From feta to American slices, a ranking of cheeses by healthfulness," 2 Sep. 2019 Remove from heat, skim at once, and pour into hot, sterilized jars., "Need to know if a fruit is safe to eat? Ask an expert," 23 Aug. 2019 Sample menus replaced hot dogs with whole wheat spaghetti, pizza sticks with chef salads, and whole milk with skim. Elaine S. Povich,, "Students, bored by cafeteria fare, love food delivery services; schools don’t.," 13 Aug. 2019 For cookie lovers who prefer to dunk, there also will be a milk bar serving oat, whole, soy, skim, chocolate and cereal milks. Phillip Valys,, "Batch, the Cookie Company bringing gourmet cookies and milk bar to Flagler Village in Fort Lauderdale," 5 Aug. 2019 The dairy industry blames rules that limit the fat content of milk in schools for consumption declines, arguing that generations of students are growing up disliking milk because of the watery taste of skim. Washington Post, "To boost milk, dairy groups support high school coffee bars," 3 July 2019 Return the pot to a boil and cook for 1 minute, then immediately remove the pot from the heat and skim of any foam that has formed., "Recipe: Mustang Grape Jelly," 26 June 2019 Choose part-skim, unsweetened options and get 2-3 servings per day. Jaclyn London, Ms, Rd, Cdn, Good Housekeeping, "How Much Sodium You Can Eat Every Day, According to a Nutritionist," 8 Apr. 2019

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.

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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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Statistics for skim

Last Updated

17 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for skim

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

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More Definitions for skim


How to pronounce skim (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of skim

: to remove a layer of something from the surface of a liquid
: to look over or read (something) quickly especially to find the main ideas
British : to throw (a flat stone) along the surface of water so that it bounces


\ 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on skim

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for skim

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with skim

Spanish Central: Translation of skim

Nglish: Translation of skim for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of skim for Arabic Speakers

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