Grammar Hammer: Shinny vs. Shimmy

blog_grammarhammer

Months ago, I received a Grammar Hammer suggestion to look at the difference between the words “shinny” and “shimmy.”

The person who suggested this topic to me said she’d never heard the word “shinny.” I’ll confess, I hadn’t heard of it either.

I wondered if shinny was an eggcorn (a word or phrase that results from mishearing or misunderstanding another word that sounds very similar, e.g. “tow the line” vs. “toe the line”) derived from the word “shimmy.”

I was wrong. Both “shinny” and “shimmy” are words used to indicate movement, but there are distinct differences in the type of action being taken.

shinny

“Shinny” refers to climbing awkwardly, as if by scrambling.
Example: “The squirrel shinnied up the tree to get away from the cat.”

“Shimmy” means “to shake or tremble.”
Example: “That weird sound your car is making causes the front end to shimmy as you wait at the stoplight.”

So, if you need to scramble up a tree to get a cat, go ahead and shinny up there. If you are going to shake your money maker at a wedding, shimmy across the floor.

Drop me a line at catherine.spicer@prnewswire.com if you have a grammar rule you’d like me to explore.

Click here for more Grammar Hammer and writing tips.

Author Catherine Spicer is a manager of customer content services at PR Newswire. A version of this blog post originally appeared on Beyond PR

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s