1. 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, shim·ming.

  1. to fill out or bring to a level by inserting a shim or shims.


  1. a thin packing strip or washer often used with a number of similar washers or strips to adjust a clearance for gears, etc
  2. physics a thin strip of magnetic material, such as soft iron, used to adjust a magnetic field

verb shims, shimming or shimmed

  1. (tr) to modify a load, clearance, or magnetic field by the use of shims

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

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