[Ads-l] shimmy (shake, climb up/down)

Barretts Mail mail.barretts at GMAIL.COM
Thu Aug 15 17:33:04 EDT 2019


Thanks for finding those. I missed the Merriam-Webster cross-reference.

Neither the OED nor the OLD, however, cover the transitive or noun meanings of “shake”. The noun meaning in the OLD that you refer to (https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/shimmy <https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/shimmy>) says:

****
[mass noun] Shaking, especially abnormal vibration of the wheels of a motor vehicle.
‘steering stabilizers reduce shimmy even from oversized tyres’
####
####

And the examples refer to vehicles and bicycles. The verb meaning is similar. 

The Merriam-Webster definitions (“to shake, quiver, or tremble in or as if in dancing a shimmy”) for vibrate/vibration is broader than the OED/OLD but still do not cover the examples I cited. BB

> On 15 Aug 2019, at 14:05, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> 
> "Shimmy (up/down)" meaning "climb (up/down)" is covered by Oxford
> Dictionaries and American Heritage:
> 
> https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/shimmy
> https://www.ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=shimmy
> 
> 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:
> 
> http://throwgrammarfromthetrain.blogspot.com/2015/08/shimmy-makes-its-move.html
> 
> 
> On Thu, Aug 15, 2019 at 4:37 PM Barretts Mail <mail.barretts at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> 
>> 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:
>> 
>> ****
>> v.
>> 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.
>> 
>> n.
>> 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:
>> 
>> https://www.winemakingtalk.com/threads/massive-rhubarb-plant.65388/page-8
>> <https://www.winemakingtalk.com/threads/massive-rhubarb-plant.65388/page-8
>>> 
>> Massive Rhubarb Plant
>> 
>> Wolfpup
>> 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
>> smaller.
>> ####
>> ####
>> 
>> 5. BZ also provides an example in the ADS archives
>> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2005-September/054227.html
>> <
>> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2005-September/054227.html
>>> 
>> 
>> 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/ep.php?ep=65>)
>> 
>> http://vrya.net/bdb/clip.php?clip=975 <
>> 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
>> meanings.
>> 
>> Benjamin Barrett (he/his/him)
>> Formerly of Seattle, WA
>> 
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


------------------------------------------------------------
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


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