View synonyms for skim


[ skim ]

verb (used with object)

, skimmed, skim·ming.
  1. to take up or remove (floating matter) from the surface of a liquid, as with a spoon or ladle:

    to skim the cream from milk.

  2. to clear (liquid) thus:

    to skim milk.

  3. to move or glide lightly over or along (a surface, as of water):

    The sailboat skimmed the lake.

  4. to throw in a smooth, gliding path over or near a surface, or so as to bounce or ricochet along a surface:

    to skim a stone across the lake.

  5. to read, study, consider, treat, etc., in a superficial or cursory manner.

    Synonyms: scan

  6. to cover, as a liquid, with a thin film or layer:

    Ice skimmed the lake at night.

  7. to take the best or most available parts or items from:

    Bargain hunters skimmed the flea markets early in the morning.

  8. to take (the best or most available parts or items) from something:

    The real bargains had been skimmed by early shoppers.

  9. Metallurgy. to remove (slag, scum, or dross) from the surface of molten metal.
  10. Slang. to conceal a portion of (winnings, earnings, etc.) in order to avoid paying income taxes, commissions, or the like on the actual total revenue (sometimes followed by off ):

    The casino skimmed two million a year.

  11. to appropriate (credit or debit card information) electronically for illegal use:

    A hidden device can skim your account number while you’re pumping gas, paying for groceries, etc.

verb (used without object)

, skimmed, skim·ming.
  1. to pass or glide lightly over or near a surface.
  2. to read, study, consider, etc., something in a superficial or cursory way.

    Synonyms: glance

  3. to become covered with a thin film or layer.
  4. Slang. to conceal gambling or other profits so as to avoid paying taxes, etc.; practice skimming.


  1. an act or instance of skimming.
  2. something that is skimmed off.
  3. a thin layer or film formed on the surface of something, especially a liquid, as the coagulated protein material formed on boiled milk.
  4. a thin layer, as of mortar.
  5. Slang. the amount taken or concealed by skimming.
  6. Obsolete. scum.


/ skɪm /


  1. tr to remove floating material from the surface of (a liquid), as with a spoon

    to skim milk

  2. to glide smoothly or lightly over (a surface)
  3. tr to throw (something) in a path over a surface, so as to bounce or ricochet

    to skim stones over water

  4. whenintr, usually foll by through to read (a book) in a superficial or cursory manner
  5. to cover (a liquid) with a thin layer or (of liquid) to become coated in this way, as with ice, scum, etc


  1. the act or process of skimming
  2. material skimmed off a liquid, esp off milk
  3. the liquid left after skimming
  4. any thin layer covering a surface

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Other Words From

  • un·skimmed adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of skim1

First recorded in 1425–75; late Middle English skymen, skemen, variant of scumen “to skim,” perhaps from Old French escumer “to remove scum”; scum

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Word History and Origins

Origin of skim1

C15 skimmen, probably from scumen to skim; see scum

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Example Sentences

Manufacturers usually include cleaning tips and methods in that little paper booklet, and giving it a quick skim could help you avoid trashing the warranty.

As a result, the brain might slip into skim mode when you’re reading on a screen.

Fat-free or skim milkEveryone knows milk is an excellent source of calcium that will keep your bones in tip-top shape.

And good for Bruno, bless his heart, who is truly the skim milk of pop music.

And the iTunes story makes music—arguably the most mysterious, magical art form—as accessible and ubiquitous as skim milk.

Skim off most of the fat with a spoon: just dip in, get a spoonful of fat, and remove.

Drinks at the dinner table are restricted to “water and skim milk.”

All summer we have had three calves that came to the orchard fence twice a day to get their ration of skim milk and feeding flour.

When the birds are done, skim off all grease, add the juice of a lemon, and serve hot.

You don't suppose, do you, I've had time since Tuesday to read all this through and skim off the cream?'

In our own little book we have been compelled to skim lightly, and, in many places, to pass over subjects of great interest.

Now, I have made a calculation, and I am satisfied that Mrs. Skim can not possibly make much profit out of me.





Skil Sawski mask