from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Abnormal vibration or wobbling, as of the wheels of an automobile.
  • noun A dance popular in the 1920s, characterized by rapid shaking of the body.
  • noun A chemise.
  • intransitive verb To vibrate or wobble abnormally.
  • intransitive verb To shake the body in or as if in dancing the shimmy.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun colloq. A chemise.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun An abnormal vibration, especially in the wheels of a vehicle.
  • noun archaic A dance that was popular in the 1920s.
  • noun rare A sleeveless chemise.
  • verb To climb something (e.g. a pole) gradually (e.g. using alternately one's arms then one's legs.)
  • verb intransitive To vibrate abnormally, as a broken wheel.
  • verb intransitive, rare To shake the body as if dancing the shimmy.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb tremble or shake
  • noun a woman's sleeveless undergarment
  • verb dance a shimmy
  • noun lively dancing (usually to ragtime music) with much shaking of the shoulders and hips
  • noun an abnormal wobble in a motor vehicle (especially in the front wheels)


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Perhaps from shimmy, alteration of chemise.]



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  • "Next morning the São Francisco did indeed embark on her last journey up the river she was named for, waddling and shimmying as her gaily painted paddles slapped the water."

    - 'The São Francisco', Germaine Greer in The Madwoman's Underclothes.

    September 1, 2008