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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Skimmer \Skim"mer\, n.

  1. One who, or that which, skims; esp., a utensil with which liquids are skimmed.

  2. (Zo["o]l.) Any species of longwinged marine birds of the genus Rhynchops, allied to the terns, but having the lower mandible compressed and much longer than the upper one. These birds fly rapidly along the surface of the water, with the lower mandible immersed, thus skimming out small fishes. The American species ( R. nigra) is common on the southern coasts of the United States. Called also scissorbill, and shearbill.

  3. (Zo["o]l.) Any one of several large bivalve shells, sometimes used for skimming milk, as the sea clams, and large scallops.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"skimming utensil," late 14c., agent noun from skim (v.). From 1751 as "one who reads superficially." The North American shore bird (1785) is so called from its method of feeding. As "one who diverts money from earnings for some private purpose" by 1970.


n. 1 A device that skims. 2 A person who skims. 3 Any of three species of bird in the genus ''Rynchops'' of the family Laridae, that feed by skimming the surface of water bodies with their bills in flight. 4 Any of several large bivalve shells, sometimes used for skimming milk, such as the sea clams and large scallops. 5 A ballet flat shoe.

  1. n. a rapid superficial reader

  2. a cooking utensil used to skim fat from the surface of liquids

  3. a stiff straw hat with a flat crown [syn: boater, leghorn, Panama, Panama hat, sailor, straw hat]

  4. gull-like seabird that flies along the surface of the water with an elongated lower mandible immersed to skim out food


The skimmers, Rynchopidae, also formerly known as the scissorbills, are a small family of tern-like birds in the order Charadriiformes, which also includes the waders, gulls and auks. The family comprises three species found in South Asia, Africa, and the Americas.

The three species are the only birds with distinctive uneven bills with the lower mandible longer than the upper. This remarkable adaptation allows them to fish in a unique way, flying low and fast over streams. Their lower mandible skims or slices over the water's surface ready to snap shut any small fish unable to dart clear. The skimmers are sometimes included within the gull family Laridae but separated in other treatments which consider them as a sister group of the terns. The black skimmer has an additional adaptation and is the only species of bird known to have slit-shaped pupils. Their bills fall within their field of binocular vision and enable them to carefully position their bill and capture prey. They are agile in flight and gather in large flocks along rivers and coastal sand banks.

They are tropical and subtropical species which lay 3–6 eggs on sandy beaches. The female incubates the eggs. Because of the species' restricted nesting habitat the three species are vulnerable to disturbance at their nesting sites. One species, the Indian skimmer, is considered vulnerable by the IUCN due to this as well as destruction and degradation of the lakes and rivers it uses for feeding.

As in later editions of the works of Linnaeus, the correct spelling (from the Greek words and , together meaning "beak-face") should be rhynchops and this is often adopted. However, the misspelling rynchops was the one first published by Linnaeus and continues to be more commonly used. Similarly, the gender of the Greek and Roman words is feminine and the genus was originally treated as such (R. nigra) but Rynchops is now usually treated as a masculine noun (R. niger).

Skimmer (disambiguation)

Skimmer is a kind of tern-like bird in the order Charadriiformes, which also includes the waders, gulls and auks.

Skimmer may also refer to:

  • Skimmer (band)
  • Skimmer (device), the slang term for a device used to read and record the magnetic code(s) from a credit card for later fraudulent use
  • Skimmer (hat)
  • A type of hovercar or hovercraft from Star Trek and other science fiction franchises.
  • Skimmer (machine)
  • Skimmer (reader)
  • Skimmer (utensil), a flat, sieve-like scoop or spoon
  • Libellulidae or skimmer, a family of dragonflies
  • Water strider or skimmer
  • Atlantic surf clam or skimmer
Skimmer (machine)

An oil skimmer is a device that separates oil or particles floating on a liquid surface. A common application is removing oil floating on water. Oil skimmers are not oil-water separator devices. They are used for oil spill remediation, as a part of oily water treatment systems, removing oil from machine tool coolant and removing oil from aqueous parts washers. Oil skimmers were used to great effect to assist in the remediation of the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989. Oil skimmers are different to Swimming pool sanitation skimmers that are designed for a related but different purpose.

Skimmer (utensil)

A skimmer is a flat, sieve-like scoop or spoon used for skimming cooking liquids or lifting ripened cream from milk, such as a spider used in Chinese cuisine.

Skimmer (band)

Skimmer are a pop-punk band from Birmingham, who formed in 1993. They were originally signed to the Leeds-based Crackle! Records. Once described as being able to "harmonise like hamsters", they supported have many American pop punk bands in the UK: Mr T Experience, NOFX, Bracket, All etc. They were also the last ever band to record a Peel Session on 21 October 2004, shortly after their first drummer's death.

In late 2005 Warren Beater joined the Skimmer camp to take over the drum sticks. Linking up with Nigel Clark as producer, (front man with Britpop chart-toppers Dodgy), they then released two new albums I’ll Tell You What (2007) and Self Harmony (2009). Headline tours of Japan, Ireland and the UK followed, along with various support slots around the UK. In 2008 a retrospective double CD 'Smitten', was released by Crackle! containing all the songs from their out-of-print first 2 albums plus some extra songs.

Usage examples of "skimmer".

Instantly, the skimmer dropped, twisted, and spiked back up before Nitpicker got it under control.

Back then, she was vulnerable and alone for the first time in her life, with Skimmer undoubtedly more than willing to help her explore the sophisticated vampiric bloodletting techniques Ivy had gained in the time Piscary had been at her.

Ima Hooker with Sergeant Knever, but there was also a small detachment here on Sea Skimmer, and today was one of its twice-weekly riflery drills.

It was empty, however, on that chill spring morning when a small skimmer marked with the triple triangle of the Thearchy dropped to a parking terrace on the slope beneath it.

An infantryman still aboard his grounded skimmer caught the shimmer of a Molt tele porting in along the vector for which Hawker had warned.

Rawls palmed a powerstud on his skimmer, and the rusted groundcart flowed him to a corner of the room.

The skimmer headed off in a southeasterly direction, a reinvigorated Pip resting on the deck near his feet.

The sum, silver shape of the skimmer sharpened until it sped cleanly through the storm fronts.

Gerd Jemasze returned to the sky-car, floated it over the wagon shops to the indicated area: a storage lot for dozens of vehicles, of various styles and sizes, old and new, from a three-masted cargo schooner on eight ten-foot wheels, to a three-wheeled skimmer with a single unstayed mast.

Sid followed the stretcher back to the skimmer where an aidman had it grounded while he worked on the bleeding and strapped on some narco-spray nerve blocks.

Grasty, on the other hand, lay in the shade the skimmer offered and grunted when anyone spoke to him, refusing food but drinking avidly from the mug Andas filled at the stream edge and offered to him.

Inquisition battlecraft are waiting to escort his sacred skimmer to the chapel stage.

There, they struggled with the manual clamps until two of the meres from the new skimmer jumped stiffly down to help them lock the ship to the deck.

Moebius cubes that had transported the ergs, the parked skimmer, the kitchen and laundry annexes next to the tower, part of the old chemistry building on the Endymion campus, several stone dwellings, precisely half of the bridge over the Pinion River, and a few million metric tons of rock and subsoil.

Returning to the skimmer, she retrieved a pack with supplies: thermal blankets, homa, medical aids.