skim/skɪm/USA pronunciationv.,skimmed, skim•ming,n. v.
to remove (floating matter) from the surface of a liquid, as with a spoon: [~ + object ( + off)]to skim the fat off.[~ + object ( + off + object)]to skim the fat off the soup.
to clear (liquid) in this way[~ + object]to skim milk.
to glide lightly over (a surface, as of water): [no object]The seaplane skimmed over the water and then landed.[~ + object]The plane skimmed the water barely a few feet from the surface.
to (cause to) be thrown in a smooth, gliding path over a surface, or so as to bounce along a surface: [~ + object]She learned to skim stones across the lake.[no object]She threw the flat stone and watched it skim across the lake.
to read, study, etc., quickly but not carefully: [~ + object]She teaches her students how to skim the chapters they read for the main idea.[no object]teaching her students to skim and not to read every word.
to take (money, the best items, etc.) from something: [~ ( + off) + object]The mobsters skimmed (off) 20% of the store's profits for "protection money.''[~ + object + off + object]to skim 25% off their profits.
to take up or remove (floating matter) from the surface of a liquid, as with a spoon or ladle:to skim the cream from milk.
to clear (liquid) thus:to skim milk.
to move or glide lightly over or along (a surface, as of water):The sailboat skimmed the lake.
to throw in a smooth, gliding path over or near a surface, or so as to bounce or ricochet along a surface:to skim a stone across the lake.
to read, study, consider, treat, etc., in a superficial or cursory manner.
to cover, as a liquid, with a thin film or layer:Ice skimmed the lake at night.
to take the best or most available parts or items from:Bargain hunters skimmed the flea markets early in the morning.
to take (the best or most available parts or items) from something:The real bargains had been skimmed by early shoppers.
Metallurgy[Metall.]to remove (slag, scum, or dross) from the surface of molten metal.
to conceal a portion of (winnings, earnings, etc.) in order to avoid paying income taxes, commissions, or the like on the actual total revenue (sometimes fol. by off ):The casino skimmed two million a year.
to take, remove, or appropriate for illegal use:to skim information from another's credit card.
to pass or glide lightly over or near a surface.
to read, study, consider, etc., something in a superficial or cursory way.
to become covered with a thin film or layer.
Sport, Slang Terms[Slang.]to conceal gambling or other profits so as to avoid paying taxes, etc.; practice skimming.
an act or instance of skimming.
something that is skimmed off.
a thin layer or film formed on the surface of something, esp. a liquid, as the coagulated protein material formed on boiled milk.
Buildinga thin layer, as of mortar.
Slang Terms[Slang.]the amount taken or concealed by skimming.
See skim milk.
Etymology:1375–1425; late Middle English skymen, skemen, variant of scumen to skim; see scum