Word of the Day: skim

Word of the Day
August 19, 2016
skim (verb)
/skɪm/  sound icon
I always skim the newspaper when I'm having my morning coffee.
To skim means 'to remove something floating on the surface of a liquid with a spoon' and, figuratively, it means 'to take something good,' usually money, from something else. It also means 'to glide over a surface, usually water,' and 'to throw something smoothly to bounce along a surface, usually water.' (In the US we also say skip for this meaning.) Skim also means 'to cover with a thin layer' and 'to read quickly without paying detailed attention.'


Example sentences
When making jam, you need to skim the scum off the top.
The accountant discovered a lot of money missing from the business and it turned out the boss had been skimming off the profits.
The boat skimmed across the waves.
Eugene spent most of his day skimming stones across the lake; he managed to get some of them to bounce seven or eight times.
The construction worker skimmed the walls to make them flat and even.
I didn't have time to read the book properly, so I just skimmed it.


Words often used with skim
skim information: steal information from someone's card with a swiping device. Criminals sometimes do this by inserting such a device into the card slot of an ATM.
Multi-word forms
skim over: deal without much care
Did you know?
Skimming is also a method of removing fat from milk. Semi-skimmed milk (or 2% milk, as we caught it in the US), is milk with half the fat content removed and skimmed milk (or skim milk in the US) has almost all the fat removed. Whole milk does not have fat removed at all. 
Other forms
skimmed (adjective)
Skim dates back to the late 14th or early 15th century. It comes from the late Middle English verb skymen or skemen, which were variants of the older verb scumen, all meaning 'to skim.' It is related to the Middle English word scum, which meant a 'thin layer on top of liquid.'
Skim in other languages
Skim was suggested by Aaryahi, from India
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