verb (used with object), skimmed, skim·ming.

verb (used without object), skimmed, skim·ming.


Nearby words

  1. skillful,
  2. skillfully,
  3. skilling,
  4. skillion,
  5. skilly,
  6. skim milk,
  7. skim off,
  8. skim-milk,
  9. skim-read,
  10. skimble-scamble

Origin of skim

1375–1425; late Middle English skymen, skemen, variant of scumen to skim; see scum

Related formsun·skimmed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for skim

British Dictionary definitions for skim


verb skims, skimming or skimmed

(tr) to remove floating material from the surface of (a liquid), as with a spoonto skim milk
to glide smoothly or lightly over (a surface)
(tr) to throw (something) in a path over a surface, so as to bounce or ricochetto skim stones over water
(when intr, usually foll by through) to read (a book) in a superficial or cursory manner
to cover (a liquid) with a thin layer or (of liquid) to become coated in this way, as with ice, scum, etc


the act or process of skimming
material skimmed off a liquid, esp off milk
the liquid left after skimming
any thin layer covering a surface
See also skim off

Word Origin for skim

C15 skimmen, probably from scumen to skim; see scum

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 skim



early 15c. (skimmer, the utensil, is attested from late 14c.), "to clear (a liquid) from matter floating on the surface, lift the scum from," from Old French escumer "remove scum," from escume (Modern French écume) "scum," from a Germanic source (cf. Old High German scum "scum," German Schaum; see scum). Meaning "to throw (a stone) so as to skip across the surface of (water) is from 1610s. Meaning "to move lightly and rapidly over the surface of" is from 1650s, from the motion involved in skimming liquid; that of "to glance over carelessly" (in reference to printed matter) recorded by 1799. Related: Skimmed; skimming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper