Definition of skimmer in US English:



  • 1A person or thing that skims.

    • ‘Must people won't read a whole ad copy, so make your products benefits standout and you won't lose the sales from all the skimmers.’
    • ‘Loyal skimmers of this column will be aware that I like to pride myself on my cultural know-how.’
    • ‘Bookstore skimmers will, however, be disappointed to discover that the dirty parts aren't that dirty.’
    • ‘Card skimmers got a little more than they bargained for last Saturday when they picked on the wrong victim - an off duty police officer.’
    • ‘I knew it was a scam, selling to these offshore skimmers.’
    1. 1.1 A utensil or device for removing a substance from the surface of a liquid.
      • ‘Summer is the time to keep your strainers and skimmers clean.’
      • ‘Some skimmers work by separating the top layer mechanically; others use a sort of blotter or a suction mechanism.’
      • ‘Remove with a bamboo skimmer, drain on paper towels, sprinkle with salt, and serve immediately.’
      • ‘Other available options include a fume exhaust blower, belt-type oil skimmer, automatic fluid refill control and a flow-through detailing brush.’
      • ‘Similarly, ferrous ladles and skimmers must be coated to prevent iron attack.’
      • ‘The skimmer removes detritus that would otherwise sink and contribute to algae growth.’
    2. 1.2 A device or craft designed to collect oil spilled on water.
      ‘skimmers will be deployed to recover as much oil as is feasible’
      • ‘The new kit includes inflatable booms, oil skimmers and a pollution storage tank and is expected to cost a maximum of £203,000.’
      • ‘The traces of oil in the waters after the skimmer is deployed are wiped out by use of absorbent pads.’
      • ‘Eight booms, presently across the river, are absorbing the oil along with a surface skimmer.’
      • ‘I'm reading some strain on the skimmer drive from that stunt, but it's nothing we can't fix upon hitting port.’
  • 2A hydroplane, hydrofoil, hovercraft, or other vessel that has little or no displacement when traveling.

    • ‘Several of the vehicles in the game are expected to be drivable in multiplay, including the jeep, alien skimmer craft and stealth tank.’
    • ‘It was only a week's journey from here to the palace on a skimmer.’
    • ‘Then he regained himself and shook his fist, ‘Get off my skimmer!’’
    • ‘The skimmer is effectively an antigrav armored personnel carrier.’
    • ‘While that pair were roughhousing near the surface, Smokey had crawled onto Rhea's skimmer but Odin was nowhere in sight.’
    • ‘He achieved 47 metres last September, beating off competition from 133 top skimmers despite torrential rain, stiff winds and foot-high waves.’
    • ‘The second superstition was that the skimmer would perform poorly and was vulnerable to misfortune when only one of the twins was aboard.’
    • ‘There were a few skimmers still moving about in the harbor and their sleek bodies glowed in the red dusk light.’
    • ‘The skimmer entered through a gateway, passing armed guards who seemed to have entire arsenals strapped to their bodies.’
    • ‘Finally he saw a convoy of four large, roofed skimmers surrounded by rovers and floating turrets set out from the shuttleport.’
  • 3US informal A close-fitting dress.

  • 4North American A flat, broad-brimmed straw hat.

    • ‘Perspiration oozes from beneath his jaunty straw skimmer, the salt stinging his eyes.’
  • 5A long-winged seabird related to the terns, feeding by flying low over the water surface with its knife-like extended lower mandible immersed.

    Genus Rynchops, family Rynchopidae (or Laridae): three species, one each in Africa, Asia, and America

    • ‘Black skimmers also attempted to nest and will hopefully be successful in the future.’
    • ‘Mute swans are responsible for driving the last remaining colony of black skimmers from Chesapeake Bay.’
    • ‘You might sweat a little when summer temps reach 104 degrees, but just think: No noise to drown out the songs of the African skimmers, wagtails, and stints.’
    • ‘Hook them through the belly and they'll swim up, but that will only feed the skimmers, terns and gulls wheedling overhead.’
    • ‘Birdlife is rich with African skimmers, fish eagles, many types of heron and colonies of carmine bee-eaters.’
    • ‘Burkett said there are thousands of avocets and skimmers on the Bolivar Flats now, as well as white pelicans, terns and other coastal species.’
    • ‘The skimmers floated, fraternized, and, best of all, skimmed, much to our delight.’
    • ‘Bar-winged skimmers range throughout the southeastern United States from Louisiana and Florida north to New Jersey.’
    • ‘In late summer, numerous egrets and herons appear, along with common, roseate, least, Forster's and black terns and maybe even a black skimmer.’
    • ‘Further down the river skimmers are also feeding well at Fulford.’
    • ‘North Deer is recognized worldwide as having an outstanding concentration of colonial nesting birds, including skimmers, gulls and terns.’
  • 6North American A broad-bodied dragonfly commonly found at ponds and swamps. It can rest for long periods on a perch, from which it darts out to grab prey.

    Libellulidae and related families: several genera and numerous species, including the twelve-spotted skimmer(Libellula pulchella)

    British term darter (sense 3)
    • ‘Frank Atkinson led with a fine 27 lb 10 oz net of skimmers, rudd and small carp taken alternating worm, meat and pellet.’
    • ‘A string of tiny skimmers were whipped out during the contest with over 300 fish going to make up the net of 6lb 12 oz, enough for seventh place in the 96 field.’
    • ‘Carol Jamieson, with 2lb 10 oz, and Adrian Goodwin on 2lb 8oz, had mixed nets of eels, perch, roach and odd skimmers.’
    • ‘Trevor Price (Tang Hall Match Group) also had a skimmer in his net from the bottom peg on the Palace Ings.’
    • ‘This is a brilliant float for pole fishing for skimmers on waters between one and three metres deep.’
    • ‘He topped the contest on Horseshoe Lake with a cracking net of bream and skimmers scaling an impressive 77 lb 14 oz.’
    • ‘Fishing from the Palace bend he netted four skimmers and two perch on feeder and worm for 4lb 3oz.’
    • ‘A recent club match was won with a fine 25 lb net of bream, skimmers and tench.’


Middle English: from Old French escumoir, from escumer ‘skim’, from escume ‘scum’.