Definitions

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

  • n. A thin, often tapered piece of material, such as wood, stone, or metal, used to fill gaps, make something level, or adjust something to fit properly.
  • transitive v. To fill in, level, or adjust by using shims or a shim.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A wedge.
  • n. A thin piece of material, sometimes tapered, used for alignment or support.
  • n. A small library that transparently intercepts and modifies calls to an API, usually for compatibility purposes.
  • n. A kind of shallow plow used in tillage to break the ground and clear it of weeds.
  • n. A small metal device used to pick open a lock.
  • v. To fit one or more shims to a piece of machinery
  • v. To adjust something by using shims
  • n. a person characterised by both male and female traits, or by ambiguous male-female traits, also called a he-she; transsexual.
  • n. hermaphrodite.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A kind of shallow plow used in tillage to break the ground, and clear it of weeds.
  • n. A thin piece of metal placed between two parts to make a fit.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A white spot, as a white streak on a horse's face.
  • n. An ignis fatuus.
  • Same as shime.
  • n. Broadly, in machinery, a thin slip (usually of metal, but often of other material) used to fill up space caused by wear, or placed between parts liable to wear, as under the cap of a pillow-block or journal-box.
  • n. In stone-working and quarrying, a plate used to fill out the space at the side of a jumper-hole, between it and a wedge used for separating a block of stone, or for contracting the space in fitting a lewis into the hole.
  • n. A shim-plow (which see, under plow).
  • To wedge up or fill out to a fair surface by inserting a thin wedge or piece of material.
  • n. An imperfect shingle, thicker at one side than the other; also, an imperfect stave for a bucket.

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

  • n. a thin wedge of material (wood or metal or stone) for driving into crevices

Etymologies

Origin unknown.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Unknown; from Kent.[2] Originally a piece of iron attached to a plow; sense of “thin piece of wood” from 1723, sense of “thin piece of material used for alignment or support” from 1860. (Wiktionary)
From she +‎ him. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Marlene was already flipping through the _American Heritage Dictionary_ -- she had brought it in a plastic shopping bag because of my previous day's challenge of "shim" -- and she triumphantly told me, holding the fat volume in my face, that no such word was listed in it.

    Beard

  • This is being fixed by adding a small piece of metal - called a "shim" - in a procedure that Toyota starts at dealerships in the UK on Wednesday.

    BBC - Ouch

  • … shim is just a barren, ovaryless freak of nature who maintains a dominatrix-to-trick relationship …

    Think Progress » Murtha on Haditha: ‘I Know There Was a Cover-up … The Chain of Command Tried to Stifle the Story’

  • The code for the shim, which is an HTML Web resource, looks like this:

    Site Home

  • Toyota insists, though, that it has found the problem and the shim is the proper fix.

    SplicedFeed

  • Toyota says the fix includes removing the gas pedal and installing a new shim, which is a small steel part not much bigger than a quarter, which helps insure the gas pedal compresses correctly.

    News for WSAV

  • But I wasn't discouraged, just fascinated, for in my office I looked up the word "shim" and saw that I had been mistaken.

    Beard

  • One of the possible things it could be is a piece of a shim which is used to space out between those heat-protective tiles in the hangar.

    CNN Transcript Sep 20, 2006

  • In Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance there is a wonderful description of a debate between the narrator and a friend about 'shim', which leads to a long philosophical discussion of the difference between 'classic' and 'romantic' outlooks upon life.

    Archive 2005-10-01

  • The qualities needed for a 'shim' to work are that it should be soft enough to enable the handlebars to be gripped more consistently, without causing rust to build up over time.

    A classic hat

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