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n. pl. shim·mies
1. Abnormal vibration or wobbling, as of the wheels of an automobile.
2. A dance popular in the 1920s, characterized by rapid shaking of the body.
3. A chemise.
intr.v. shim·mied, shim·my·ing, shim·mies
1. To vibrate or wobble abnormally.
2. To shake the body in or as if in dancing the shimmy.
3. To shinny. See Usage note below.
[Perhaps from shimmy, alteration of chemise.]
Usage Note: The shimmy is a dance that was popular in the 1920s and is characterized by rapid shaking of the body. To shimmy means "to shake the body in or as if in dancing the shimmy." Shimmy, possibly an alteration of the word chemise, has no etymological connection to the similar-sounding verb shinny, meaning "to climb by gripping and pulling alternately with the hands and legs." Recently, however, the verb shimmy has been used to describe the action of shinnying. In addition to their similarity in sound, the motions described by both verbs involve back-and-forth movements of the body. It's understandable, then, how this new sense of shimmy arose, and it has gained marginal acceptance by our Usage Panel. In our 2015 survey, 53 percent of the Panelists accepted the sentence Tania shimmied up the tree and picked some apples. Interestingly, only 66 percent of the Panelists accepted the use of shinny in the same sentence, suggesting that there remains confusion even among wordsmiths over which is the most appropriate word choice to describe this type of climbing. However, when it comes to the use of shinny (traditionally "to climb") in place of shimmy (traditionally "to dance"), the Panelists are resolute in holding to the traditional meanings, with 97 percent finding the use of shinny in the sentence The couple shinnied on the dance floor to the samba music unacceptable.
n, pl -mies
1. (Dancing) an American ragtime dance with much shaking of the hips and shoulders
2. (Automotive Engineering) abnormal wobbling motion in a motor vehicle, esp in the front wheels or steering
3. (Clothing & Fashion) an informal word for chemise
vb (intr) , -mies, -mying or -mied
4. (Dancing) to dance the shimmy
5. to vibrate or wobble
[C19: changed from chemise, mistakenly assumed to be plural]
n., pl. -mies, n.
1. an American ragtime dance marked by rapid shaking of the hips and shoulders.
2. excessive wobbling in the front wheels of a motor vehicle.
3. a chemise.v.i.
4. to dance the shimmy.
5. to shake, wobble, or vibrate.
[1830–40; back formation and resp. of chemise]
Past participle: shimmied
Switch to new thesaurus
|Noun||1.||shimmy - an abnormal wobble in a motor vehicle (especially in the front wheels); "he could feel the shimmy in the steering wheel"|
wobble - an unsteady rocking motion
|2.||shimmy - a woman's sleeveless undergarment|
|3.||shimmy - lively dancing (usually to ragtime music) with much shaking of the shoulders and hips|
social dancing - dancing as part of a social occasion
|Verb||1.||shimmy - tremble or shake; "His voice wobbled with restrained emotion"|
vibrate - shake, quiver, or throb; move back and forth rapidly, usually in an uncontrolled manner
|2.||shimmy - dance a shimmy|
dancing, terpsichore, dance, saltation - taking a series of rhythmical steps (and movements) in time to music