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Etymology 1[edit]

skim +‎ -er



skimmer (plural skimmers)

  1. A device that skims.
    1. A sieve-like, slotted spoon.
    2. A device for removing organic matter from an aquarium.
    3. (crime) A device used to read and record the magnetic code from a credit card for later fraudulent use.
      Coordinate terms: skimming, shimming, shimmer
  2. A person who skims.
  3. Any of three species of bird in the genus Rynchops of the family Laridae, that feed by skimming the surface of water bodies with their bills in flight.
  4. Any of several large bivalve shells, sometimes used for skimming milk, such as the sea clam (Spisula solidissima) and large scallops.
  5. A ballet flat shoe.
  6. A loose-fitting one-piece dress, similar to a shift but with slightly more fitting.
    • 1969, The New York Times Magazine (part 3)
      Classic, box-pleated skimmers and pantdresses stay crisp and fresh, won't wrinkle or wilt!
    • 2006, Adele P. Margolis, Judy Skoogfors, Make Your Own Dress Patterns, page 73:
      The utilization of divided dart control—some stitched and some unstitched—is the basis of semifitted styles such as the shift or skimmer dress.
    • 2009, Phyllis G. Tortora, Keith Eubank, Survey of Historic Costume (page 572)
      Slightly A-line, princess-cut “skimmers” were popular as dresses in summer and jumpers in winter.
  7. (entomology) Any of the dragonflies in the family Libellulidae.
  8. (naval) A sailor in the surface forces, as opposed to a submariner.
  9. (naval) A surface ship.
  10. (science fiction) A small, fast-moving spacecraft.
    • 2015, Aurora Springer, Grand Master's Pawn
      Kondric stood beside the skimmer for a moment, looking back at his warriors. They shouted and banged their swords on their shields. He raised his hand in farewell, and followed Violet into the cabin.
    • 2000, Carlie Simonsen, Rocky to the Rescue (page 2)
      They said no one landed on other planets. They said there was no such thing as a skimmer. Rocky hadn't believed them. They didn't know everything. He wished they could see the skimmer.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Northern variant of shimmer.


skimmer (third-person singular simple present skimmers, present participle skimmering, simple past and past participle skimmered)

  1. To shimmer.
  2. To move quickly, to flutter.
    • 1824, James Hogg, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, Oxford 2010, p. 9:
      …he was bounding over the heads of the maidens, and making his feet skimmer against the ceiling, enjoying, the while, the most ecstatic emotions.




Deverbal from skimra. Cognate of German Schimmer which may have affected some senses.


skimmer n

  1. a faint tremulous or intermittent light; a shimmer
    Dra ett löjets skimmer överPull a shimmer of gleeful ridicule over ("Make a mockery of," idiomatic)


Declension of skimmer 
Indefinite Definite
Nominative skimmer skimret
Genitive skimmers skimrets

Related terms[edit]

See also[edit]