shimmy

[shim-ee]
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noun, plural shim·mies.
  1. an American ragtime dance marked by shaking of the hips and shoulders.
  2. excessive wobbling in the front wheels of a motor vehicle.
  3. a chemise.
verb (used without object), shim·mied, shim·my·ing.
  1. to dance the shimmy.
  2. to shake, wobble, or vibrate.

Origin of shimmy

1830–40, for def 3; 1915–20 for def 1; back formation and respelling of chemise, construed as a plural
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for shimmy

wobble, dance, vibrate

Examples from the Web for shimmy

Contemporary Examples of shimmy

  • Operations were slowed so a team of eight technicians could shimmy up the ship to tighten up the cables.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Raising of the Concordia

    Barbie Latza Nadeau

    September 17, 2013

Historical Examples of shimmy


British Dictionary definitions for shimmy

shimmy

noun plural -mies
  1. an American ragtime dance with much shaking of the hips and shoulders
  2. abnormal wobbling motion in a motor vehicle, esp in the front wheels or steering
  3. an informal word for chemise
verb -mies, -mying or -mied (intr)
  1. to dance the shimmy
  2. to vibrate or wobble

Word Origin for shimmy

C19: changed from chemise, mistakenly assumed to be plural
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 shimmy
v.

"do a suggestive dance," 1918, perhaps via phrase shake the shimmy, which is possibly from shimmy (n.), a U.S. dialectal form of chemise (mistaken as a plural; cf. shammy) first recorded 1837. Or perhaps the verb is related to shimmer (v.) via a notion of glistening light. Transferred sense of "vibration of a motor vehicle" is from 1925. Related: Shimmied; shimmying. As a noun, the name of a popular, fast, suggestive pre-flapper dance, by 1919.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper