Definition of shim in US English:


nounPlural shims

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

    ‘an aluminum shim reduces the diameter so that a standard stem will fit’
    • ‘The only compensation you can make for rotor/caliper relation is with shims.’
    • ‘That is; the axle needs to be in the same place as when the caliper was centered over the disc using the shims.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Alignment of the two irons presented a problem, as indicated by the presence of thin wooden shims in two places.’
    • ‘When placing shim material, place a block of wood between the shim and the hammer so as not to damage the flooring.’
    • ‘If pieces of the shim fell into the transmission oil sump, the transmission filter could become blocked and cause low oil pressure.’
    • ‘You do it in several passes cutting an inch or so with each pass; otherwise you can wear out shims prematurely.’
    • ‘Currently I've aligned the shim with the frameset cut and have the collar at 180 degrees to the seat lug.’
    • ‘Then he worked on her cycling shoes, placing shims under the cleats to tweak the angle of shoe to pedal.’
    • ‘The colorful tin can container provides zip ties and variable thickness rubber shims to go around the handlebars and computer mount.’
    • ‘The shims can be used again if the shims and floor are marked.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They also work with shims on the shoe sole under the cleats.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This thin shim moved the lever about 12 mm closer to the handlebar.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Careful inspection revealed that the metal shims have an about 1-2 mm give when pressed in, as illustrated in the picture.’
    • ‘The coating is not affected by lubricant films and can be applied as a tailor-made shim, foil gasket or as a direct coating.’

verbshims, shimming, shimmed

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

    • ‘Blades with tilted heel or sole plates should also be avoided; however, by shimming them this can be corrected for when they are mounted.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As long as you shim it to the right size, it should not matter which one you use.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Hence it is generally necessary to shim blades or to remove sole leather when mounting blades in the correct position for a given skater.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I would flip that shim slot to 180 degrees from the frame slot, too.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A representative from the window supplier inspected the problem and said the windows were out of square and needed to be shimmed.’
    • ‘So it was necessary to shim the tools, test machine, and check the accuracy.’
    • ‘You may need to stack and shim your dado blades to get the specified thickness.’
    • ‘For more than fifty years, he was responsible for the incredibly delicate craft of space shimming, not unlike a master carpenter.’
    • ‘The barrel channel within the stock was shimmed to support the smaller diameter smokeless barrel.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Once the door is nailed into the opening on the inside, it's time to shim the door jamb.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Shimming is done electronically, with the operator entering data that moves the tool up or down, eliminating the need to shim by hand.’


Early 18th century: of unknown origin.