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Etymology 1[edit]

Unknown; from Kent.[1][2] Originally a piece of iron attached to a plow; sense of “thin piece of wood” from 1723, sense of “thin piece of material used for alignment or support” from 1860.


shim ‎(plural shims)

  1. A wedge.
  2. A thin piece of material, sometimes tapered, used for alignment or support.
  3. (computing) A small library that transparently intercepts and modifies calls to an API, usually for compatibility purposes.
  4. A kind of shallow plow used in tillage to break the ground and clear it of weeds.
  5. A small metal device used to pick open a lock.


shim ‎(third-person singular simple present shims, present participle shimming, simple past and past participle shimmed)

  1. To fit one or more shims to a piece of machinery.
  2. To adjust something by using shims.
  3. (computing, transitive) To intercept and modify calls to (an API), usually for compatibility purposes.

Etymology 2[edit]

Blend of she +‎ him.


shim ‎(plural shims)

  1. (informal, often derogatory) a person characterised by both male and female traits, or by ambiguous male-female traits, also called a he-she; transsexual.
    • 1998, Hobart Student Association, The Seneca review:
      He — or "Shim" (she/him), as film director John Waters called the actor Divine — was as much a paradoxical as a perverse fellow.
    • 1995, The Advocate - May 30, 1995 - Page 11:
      "We call him shim— short for 'she-him.'
  2. (informal, often derogatory) hermaphrodite.


  1. ^ shim” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary (2001).
  2. ^ shim” in Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Online





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