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[shim] /ʃɪm/
a thin slip or wedge of metal, wood, etc., for driving into crevices, as between machine parts to compensate for wear, or beneath bedplates, large stones, etc., to level them.
verb (used with object), shimmed, shimming.
to fill out or bring to a level by inserting a shim or shims.
Origin of shim
1715-25; origin uncertain Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for shim
Historical Examples
  • No, the big elevation rudder was still in place, but it seemed to have no effect on the shim.

    Tom Swift and his Airship Victor Appleton
British Dictionary definitions for shim


a thin packing strip or washer often used with a number of similar washers or strips to adjust a clearance for gears, etc
(physics) a thin strip of magnetic material, such as soft iron, used to adjust a magnetic field
verb shims, shimming, shimmed
(transitive) to modify a load, clearance, or magnetic field by the use of shims
Word Origin
C18: origin unknown
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for shim

1723, a Kentish word of unknown origin. Originally a piece of iron fitted to a plow for scraping soil; meaning "thin slip of wood to fill up a space or raise a level" is from 1860.


"to wedge up a surface by means of a shim," 1877, from shim (n.). Related: Shimmed; shimming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for shim



To vacillate; be irresolute: For god sake, stop shilly-shallying and make up your mind

[1782+; found by 1700 in form shill I shall I]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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shim in Technology
jargon, memory management
A small piece of data inserted in order to achieve a desired memory alignment or other addressing property.
For example, the PDP-11 Unix linker, in split I&D (instructions and data) mode, inserts a two-byte shim at location 0 in data space so that no data object will have an address of 0 (and be confused with the C null pointer).
See also loose bytes.
[Jargon File]
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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