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

  • transitive v. To remove floating matter from (a liquid).
  • transitive v. To remove (floating matter) from a liquid.
  • transitive v. To take away the choicest or most readily attainable contents or parts from.
  • transitive v. To coat or cover with or as if with a thin layer, as of scum.
  • transitive v. To throw so as to bounce or slide: skimming stones on the pond.
  • transitive v. To glide or pass quickly and lightly over or along (a surface). See Synonyms at brush1.
  • transitive v. To read or glance through (a book, for example) quickly or superficially.
  • transitive v. Slang To fail to declare part of (certain income, such as winnings) to avoid tax payment.
  • intransitive v. To move or pass swiftly and lightly over or near a surface; glide.
  • intransitive v. To give a quick and superficial reading, scrutiny, or consideration; glance: skimmed through the newspaper.
  • intransitive v. To become coated with a thin layer.
  • intransitive v. Slang To fail to declare certain income to avoid tax payment.
  • n. The act of skimming.
  • n. Something that has been skimmed.
  • n. A thin layer or film.
  • n. Slang The profit gained by skimming.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. to throw an object so it bounces on water (skimming stones)
  • v. to ricochet
  • v. to read quickly, skipping some detail
  • v. to scrape off; to remove (something) from a surface
  • v. to carefully remove the cream that floats on top of fresh milk
  • adj. Having lowered fat content.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Contraction of skimming and skimmed.
  • intransitive v. To pass lightly; to glide along in an even, smooth course; to glide along near the surface.
  • intransitive v. To hasten along with superficial attention.
  • intransitive v. To put on the finishing coat of plaster.
  • transitive v. To clear (a liquid) from scum or substance floating or lying thereon, by means of a utensil that passes just beneath the surface
  • transitive v. To take off by skimming.
  • transitive v. To pass near the surface of; to brush the surface of; to glide swiftly along the surface of.
  • transitive v. Fig.: To read or examine superficially and rapidly, in order to cull the principal facts or thoughts.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To lift the scum from; clear the surface of by removing any floating matter, by means of a spoon, a flat ladle, or the like: as, to skim soup by removing the oil or fat; to skim milk by taking off the cream.
  • To lift from the surface of a liquid by a sliding movement, as with a puddle, a flat ladle, a spoon, or the like; dip up with or as with a skimmer, as cream from milk or fat from soup; hence, to clear away; remove.
  • To clear; rid; free from obstacles or enemies.
  • To mow.
  • To cover with a film or scum; coat over.
  • To pass lightly along or near the surface of; move smoothly and lightly over; glide, float, fly, or run over the surface of.
  • To pass over lightly in perusal or inspection; glance over hastily or superficially.
  • To cause to dart, skip, or ricochet along a surface; hurl along a surface in a smooth, straight course.
  • To pass lightly and smoothly over a surface; hence, to glide or dart along in a smooth, even course.
  • To pass in hasty inspection or consideration, as over the surface of something; observe or consider lightly or superficially.
  • To become covered with a scum or film; be coated over.
  • In plastering, to put the finishing coat or skim-coat on.
  • n. The act of skimming; also, that which is skimmed off.
  • n. Thick matter that forms or collects on the surface of a liquor; scum.
  • n. A cultivator blade for surface work, analogous to a sweep. See scalp, 7, and sweep, 12 .

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

  • n. a thin layer covering the surface of a liquid
  • v. coat (a liquid) with a layer
  • v. move or pass swiftly and lightly over the surface of
  • v. cause to skip over a surface
  • adj. used of milk and milk products from which the cream has been removed
  • v. examine hastily
  • v. travel on the surface of water
  • v. remove from the surface
  • v. read superficially
  • n. reading or glancing through quickly


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

Middle English skimmen, perhaps from Old French escumer, to remove scum, from escume, scum, of Germanic origin; see (s)keu- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English skimmen



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