• synonyms


  1. the outer edge, border, margin, or brink of something, especially of a circular object.
  2. any edge, margin, or frame added to or around a central object or area.
  3. the outer circle of a wheel, attached to the hub by spokes.
  4. a circular strip of metal forming the connection between an automobile wheel and tire, either permanently attached to or removable from the wheel.
  5. a drive wheel or flywheel, as on a spinning mule.
  6. Basketball. the metal ring from which the net is suspended to form the basket.
  7. Journalism. the outer edge of a usually U-shaped copy desk, occupied by the copyreaders.Compare slot1(def 5b).
  8. Metallurgy. (in an ingot) an outer layer of metal having a composition different from that of the center.
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verb (used with object), rimmed, rim·ming.
  1. to furnish with a rim, border, or margin.
  2. (of a golf ball or putt) to roll around the edge of (a hole) but not go in.
  3. Basketball. (of a basketball) to roll around (the rim of the basket) and not go in.
  4. to coat or encrust the rim of (a glass): Rim each cocktail glass with salt.
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Origin of rim

before 1150; Middle English; Old English -rima (in compounds); cognate with Old Norse rimi raised strip of land, ridge
Related formsrim·less, adjective


1. lip, verge. Rim, brim refer to the boundary of a circular or curved area. A rim is a line or surface bounding such an area; an edge or border: the rim of a glass. Brim usually means the inside of the rim, at the top of a hollow object (except of a hat), and is used particularly when the object contains something: The cup was filled to the brim.


1. center.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

perimeter, fringe, lip, periphery, ledge, circumference, terminus, end, verge, skirt, top, hem, brink, band, curb, brim, strip, limit, line, confine

Examples from the Web for rims

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Parson Christian looked again over the rims of his spectacles.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine

  • The rims of his ears are flat, and that is a sign that never fails.'


    Anatole France

  • His hands were red from the cold water, and there were rims of earth in his nails.

    The Rainbow

    D. H. (David Herbert) Lawrence

  • They did not run a yard that the pilot wheels were not sunk to the rims in snow.

  • Their rims are bare outside, and in to an average depth of thirty feet from the crest.

British Dictionary definitions for rims


  1. the raised edge of an object, esp of something more or less circular such as a cup or crater
  2. the peripheral part of a wheel, to which the tyre is attached
  3. basketball the hoop from which the net is suspended
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verb rims, rimming or rimmed (tr)
  1. to put a rim on (a pot, cup, wheel, etc)
  2. slang to lick, kiss, or suck the anus of (one's sexual partner)
  3. ball games (of a ball) to run around the edge of (a hole, basket, etc)
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Word Origin

Old English rima; related to Old Saxon rimi, Old Norse rimi ridge


abbreviation for
  1. Mauritania (international car registration)
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Word Origin

From République Islamique de Mauritanie
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for rims



Old English rima "edge, border, verge, coast," as in særima "seashore," literally "rim of the sea," and dægrima "dawn," literally "rim of the day." Related to Old Norse rime, rimi "a raised strip of land, ridge," Old Frisian rim "edge," but with no other known cognates. The snare drummer's rim shot (striking the rim and the head at once) is recorded from 1934.

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1794, "to fit with a rim," from rim (n.). Sexual senses from 1920s, some perhaps influenced by ream (v.). Related: Rimmed; rimming.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

rims in Medicine


  1. The border, edge, or margin of an organ or a part.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.