Etymology: Middle English skymmen, skemen, probably from Anglo-French escumer, from escume foam, scum, of Germanic origin; akin to Middle Dutch schum scum — more at scum
Date: 14th century
a. to clear (a liquid) of scum or floating substance <skim boiling syrup> b. to remove (as film or scum) from the surface of a liquid c. to remove cream from by skimming d. to remove the best or most easily obtainable contents from 2. to read, study, or examine superficially and rapidly; especially to glance through (as a book) for the chief ideas or the plot 3. to throw in a gliding path; especially to throw so as to ricochet along the surface of water 4. to cover with or as if with a film, scum, or coat 5. to pass swiftly or lightly over 6. a. to remove or conceal (as a portion of casino profits) to avoid payment of taxes b. embezzle <skimming money from employee pension plans> intransitive verb 1. a. to pass lightly or hastily ; glide or skip along, above, or near a surface b. to give a cursory glance, consideration, or reading 2. to become coated with a thin layer of film or scum 3. to put on a finishing coat of plaster 4. to embezzle money II. noun Date: 14th century 1. a thin layer, coating, or film 2. the act of skimming 3. something skimmed; specifically skim milk III. adjective Date: 1794 1. having the cream removed by skimming 2. made of skim milk <skim cheese>
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.