[Ads-l] shimmy (shake, climb up/down)
bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Thu Aug 15 17:05:22 EDT 2019
"Shimmy (up/down)" meaning "climb (up/down)" is covered by Oxford
Dictionaries and American Heritage:
You say that Merriam-Webster is "silent" on this meaning, but it's actually
covered by a cross-reference to "shinny" (def 3). AHD has a usage note on
"shimmy" vs. "shinny":
The _shimmy_ is a dance that was popular in the 1920s and is characterized
by rapid shaking of the body. To _shimmy_ means "to shake the body in or as
if in dancing the shimmy." _Shimmy_, possibly an alteration of the word
_chemise_, has no etymological connection to the similar-sounding verb
_shinny_, meaning "to climb by gripping and pulling alternately with the
hands and legs." Recently, however, the verb _shimmy_ has been used to
describe the action of _shinnying_. In addition to their similarity in
sound, the motions described by both verbs involve back-and-forth movements
of the body. It's understandable, then, how this new sense of _shimmy_
arose, and it has gained marginal acceptance by our Usage Panel. In our
2015 survey, 53 percent of the Panelists accepted the sentence _Tania
shimmied up the tree and picked some apples_. Interestingly, only 66
percent of the Panelists accepted the use of _shinny_ in the same sentence,
suggesting that there remains confusion even among wordsmiths over which is
the most appropriate word choice to describe this type of climbing.
However, when it comes to the use of _shinny_ (traditionally "to climb") in
place of _shimmy_ (traditionally "to dance"), the Panelists are resolute in
holding to the traditional meanings, with 97 percent finding the use of
_shinny_ in the sentence _The couple shinnied on the dance floor to the
samba music_ unacceptable.
Further discussion from Jan Freeman:
On Thu, Aug 15, 2019 at 4:37 PM Barretts Mail <mail.barretts at gmail.com>
> 1. In a video on pickling blackberries, Atomic Shrimp uses the expression
> “give a shimmy” and then shakes a jar by means of several short vibrations.
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dy5jWXJ1TsA <
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dy5jWXJ1TsA> (2:47)
> Pickled Blackberries (Part 1)
> Atomic Shrimp, located in the UK
> 9 September 2018
> I’ll give that a little shimmy….
> 2. The OED does not cover this. Related senses it has are:
> 1a. To dance the shimmy.
> 1b. To dance (the shimmy); to shake (part of the body) as in the shimmy.
> 2. intransitive. figurative and transferred. To shake, quiver, vibrate, to
> progress hastily or irregularly.
> 1. (the dance)
> 2. An oscillation or vibration of the wheels, etc., of a motor vehicle or
> of an aircraft undercarriage; spec. = wheel wobble n.
> 3. The progress from the OED’s meaning to the Atomic Shrimp can be seen,
> for example in
> https://tinyurl.com/yym4feyw <https://tinyurl.com/yym4feyw>
> A Promise of Forever
> Marilyin Pappano
> 2015 (Google-dated)
> An instant later, the skirt began sliding form her waist, and she gave it
> a shimmy to help it along.
> 4. Here is another example of “shimmy” as a noun:
> Massive Rhubarb Plant
> 11 May 2018
> Did not take as long to get a reading today, Gave it a "shimmy" shake,
> tapped it and swish, here we go. It looks like the numbers are getting
> 5. BZ also provides an example in the ADS archives
> The citation appears to be from the TV show “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”,
> episode 65: ’Something Blue’ (1999, see http://vrya.net/bdb/ep.php?ep=65 <
> http://vrya.net/bdb/clip.php?clip=975 <
> Willow: Yeah.. I-I know I've been sort of a party-poop lately, so I said
> to myself, "Self!" I said, "It's time to shake and shimmy it off.”
> 6. Separately, the meaning of ascend or descend by the use of the hands
> and knees/lower legs is not given in the OED. Wiktionary (
> https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/shimmy <
> https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/shimmy>) covers this:
> To climb something (e.g. a pole) gradually (e.g. using alternately one's
> arms then one's legs).
> He shimmied up the flagpole.
> I don’t think that “gradual” movement is a part of the definition,
> however. Shimmying is, in my experience, frequently a very rapid movement.
> Merriam-Webster (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/shimmy <
> https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/shimmy>) is also quiet on both
> Benjamin Barrett (he/his/him)
> Formerly of Seattle, WA
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
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