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A back-formation from chemise (mistaken for a plural).


  • IPA(key): /ˈʃɪ.mi/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪmi


shimmy (plural shimmies)

  1. A dance movement involving thrusting the shoulders back and forth alternately.
  2. A dance that was popular in the 1920s.
  3. An abnormal vibration, especially in the wheels of a vehicle.
  4. (rare) A sleeveless chemise.



shimmy (third-person singular simple present shimmies, present participle shimmying, simple past and past participle shimmied)

  1. (dance) To perform a shimmy (dance movement involving thrusting the shoulders back and forth alternately).
    • 1934 James T. Farrell, The Young Manhood of Studs Lonigan, Ch. 13:
      She wondered would he think her awful, and try to get fresh if she shimmied. Fellows often did. But he was so cute. And a girl had to something about that, and if she didn't shimmy, she might do something worse.
  2. To climb something (e.g. a pole) gradually (e.g. using alternately one's arms then one's legs).
    He shimmied up the flagpole.
    The static made her dress shimmy up her leg.
  3. (intransitive) To vibrate abnormally, as a broken wheel.
    • 1966, Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49, New York: Bantam Books, published 1976, →ISBN, page 37:
      They came in among earth-moving machines, a total absence of trees, the usual hieratic geometry, and eventually, shimmying for the sand roads, down in a helix to a sculptured body of water named Lake Inverarity.
  4. (intransitive, rare) To shake the body as if dancing the shimmy.
  5. (intransitive, video games) To move across a narrow ledge, either by hanging from it or by strafing on it along the wall.
    • 2009, Allison Schubert,'s Videogame Guides of 2008: Adventure 3-Pack
      Jump up to the ledge on your right and shimmy around the corner.
    • 1999, Prima Development, The Big Playstation Book:
      Climb on top of the room and drop down to shimmy along its back ledge.





shimmy m (plural shimmys)

  1. shimmy (1920s dance)

Further reading[edit]