Definition of shim in English:


nounPlural shims

  • A washer or thin strip of material used to align parts, make them fit, or reduce wear.

    ‘an aluminium shim reduces the diameter so that a standard stem will fit’
    • ‘Careful inspection revealed that the metal shims have an about 1-2 mm give when pressed in, as illustrated in the picture.’
    • ‘Alignment of the two irons presented a problem, as indicated by the presence of thin wooden shims in two places.’
    • ‘The only compensation you can make for rotor/caliper relation is with shims.’
    • ‘Then he worked on her cycling shoes, placing shims under the cleats to tweak the angle of shoe to pedal.’
    • ‘You do it in several passes cutting an inch or so with each pass; otherwise you can wear out shims prematurely.’
    • ‘For European style cabinets, adjustments to the guides will typically need to be done by inserting thin shims between the guides and the cabinet and/or the drawer.’
    • ‘If pieces of the shim fell into the transmission oil sump, the transmission filter could become blocked and cause low oil pressure.’
    • ‘They also work with shims on the shoe sole under the cleats.’
    • ‘When placing shim material, place a block of wood between the shim and the hammer so as not to damage the flooring.’
    • ‘To install retrofits in this type of frame, the old sash is removed, stops are installed if necessary and the new unit is attached to the old wood frames with shims and screws.’
    • ‘Once you get the jamb aligned put shims between the jamb and stud opening, being careful not to bow the jamb into the opening.’
    • ‘This thin shim moved the lever about 12 mm closer to the handlebar.’
    • ‘The colorful tin can container provides zip ties and variable thickness rubber shims to go around the handlebars and computer mount.’
    • ‘Currently I've aligned the shim with the frameset cut and have the collar at 180 degrees to the seat lug.’
    • ‘By eliminating the shim material that is inherent in most gaskets, the metal to metal joint, in theory, will transfer the vibration over the entire surface of both parts.’
    • ‘If it were an older refrigerator I would be worried about the nylon shims under the doors wearing down but you shouldn't have to, just make sure to put them back where they came from.’
    • ‘The shims can be used again if the shims and floor are marked.’
    • ‘That is; the axle needs to be in the same place as when the caliper was centered over the disc using the shims.’
    • ‘The coating is not affected by lubricant films and can be applied as a tailor-made shim, foil gasket or as a direct coating.’
    • ‘The kit contains one match barrel, one match bushing, three snap-in moon-shaped shims of different thickness, one link and pin, and two pieces of shim stock.’

verbshims, shimming, shimmed

[with object]
  • Wedge (something) or fill up (a space) with a shim.

    ‘display monitors were shimmed up on cardboard’
    ‘you may have to shim the tube’
    • ‘Bodges are usually temporary, but not always - for example, fitting a nonstandard part by filing it down or shimming it could legitimately described as a bodge.’
    • ‘As long as you shim it to the right size, it should not matter which one you use.’
    • ‘If the scales are not level with each other, use plywood or some other material, such as aluminum or Masonite, and shim them until all four scales are level.’
    • ‘So it was necessary to shim the tools, test machine, and check the accuracy.’
    • ‘That means that it may have to be shimmed using plywood.’
    • ‘Shimming of the shelf angle may not be adequate and may put the anchorage into overstress if shimmed too far.’
    • ‘A representative from the window supplier inspected the problem and said the windows were out of square and needed to be shimmed.’
    • ‘For more than fifty years, he was responsible for the incredibly delicate craft of space shimming, not unlike a master carpenter.’
    • ‘They had to be shimmed to the exact height and angle (up to two degrees from the vertical) specified by the architects for each one.’
    • ‘Shimming is done electronically, with the operator entering data that moves the tool up or down, eliminating the need to shim by hand.’
    • ‘The barrel channel within the stock was shimmed to support the smaller diameter smokeless barrel.’
    • ‘Blades with tilted heel or sole plates should also be avoided; however, by shimming them this can be corrected for when they are mounted.’
    • ‘I would flip that shim slot to 180 degrees from the frame slot, too.’
    • ‘Hence it is generally necessary to shim blades or to remove sole leather when mounting blades in the correct position for a given skater.’
    • ‘The contractor sets the screed rails or side forms, often shimming them during strike-off 1/2 to 3/4 inch higher than the final surface elevation to allow for compaction later with rollers.’
    • ‘To avoid pulling your cabinets out of kilter as you position them to the wall, shim the gaps at the fastening point (where the stud is located) before screwing the cabinet into place.’
    • ‘You may need to stack and shim your dado blades to get the specified thickness.’
    • ‘Once the door is nailed into the opening on the inside, it's time to shim the door jamb.’


Early 18th century: of unknown origin.