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

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A chemise.

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

  • v. tremble or shake
  • n. a woman's sleeveless undergarment
  • v. dance a shimmy
  • n. lively dancing (usually to ragtime music) with much shaking of the shoulders and hips
  • n. 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