v. skimmed, skim·ming, skims
a. To remove floating matter from (a liquid).
b. To remove (floating matter) from a liquid.
a. To embezzle (money) by taking a small portion on each transaction: corrupt governments skimming money from foreign aid.
b. To fail to declare part of (certain income, such as winnings) to avoid tax payment.
c. To copy information from (a credit card) as part of a skimming fraud.
3. To coat or cover with a thin layer: "the still, shallow water solidly frozen and skimmed with white" (Barbara Hurd).
a. To throw so as to bounce or slide: skimming stones on the pond.
b. To glide or pass quickly and lightly over or along (a surface). See Synonyms at brush1.
a. To read or glance through (a book, for example) quickly or superficially.
b. To glance over quickly; scan: skimmed the crowd for a familiar face.
c. To touch lightly or superficially on: a survey course that barely skimmed the surface of Latin American history.
1. To move or pass swiftly and lightly over or near a surface; glide.
2. To fail to declare certain income to avoid tax payment.
3. To give a quick and superficial reading, scrutiny, or consideration; glance: skimmed through the newspaper.
4. To become coated with a thin layer.
1. The act of skimming.
2. Something that has been skimmed.
3. A thin layer or film: a skim of ice on the pond.
4. The money stolen by skimming from an account or business operation.
[Middle English skimmen, perhaps from Old French escumer, to remove scum, from escume, scum, of Germanic origin; see (s)keu- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
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.