1. The action of sliding or slipping over a surface, often sideways.
a. A plank, log, or timber, usually one of a pair, used as a support or as a track for sliding or rolling heavy objects.
b. A pallet for loading or handling goods, especially one having solid sideboards and no bottom.
c. One of several logs or timbers forming a skid road.
3. skids Nautical A wooden framework attached to the side of a ship to prevent damage, as when unloading.
4. A shoe or drag applying pressure to a wheel to brake a vehicle.
5. A runner in the landing gear of certain aircraft.
a. A period of sharp decline or repeated losses: Bad economic news sent the markets into a skid. The win ended the team's four-game skid.
b. skids A path to ruin or failure: His career hit the skids. Her life is now on the skids.
v. skid·ded, skid·ding, skids
1. To slide, especially roughly or heavily: The crate broke loose and skidded across the slanting deck.
a. To slide sideways while moving because of loss of traction: The truck skidded on a patch of ice.
b. To slide from forward momentum, especially during an attempt to stop: braked hard and skidded to a stop. See Synonyms at slide.
3. To move sideways in a turn because of insufficient banking. Used of an airplane.
4. Informal To fall or decline sharply: "That news immediately sent bonds skidding to new lows" (Wall Street Journal).
1. To brake (a wheel) with a skid.
2. To haul on a skid or skids.
[Perhaps of Scandinavian origin.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.