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skim the surface (of something)

To do, engage with, or understand something to only a minimal or superficial degree. I know you feel like you know everything about philosophy now, but this introductory course only skims the surface. Jack never felt satisfied devoting his time and attention to one thing, so instead he's skimmed the surface of a number of hobbies and interests.
See also: skim, surface

skim over something

1. Lit. to glide across something. The sailboat skimmed over the waves like a bird. The bird skimmed over the treetops, darting and dodging.
2. Fig. to go over or review something hastily. I just skimmed over the material and still got an A on the test! Please skim over chapter four for Thursday.
See also: skim

skim something off (of) something

 and skim something off 
1. Lit. to scoop something off the surface of something. (Of is usually retained before pronouns.) The cook skimmed the fat off the stew. The cook skimmed off the fat.
2. Fig. to remove a portion of something of value, such as money, from an account. (Of is usually retained before pronouns.) The auditor was skimming a few dollars a day off the bank's cash flow. Kelly skimmed off a few dollars each day.
See also: off, skim

skim through something

to go through something hastily; to read through something hastily. She skimmed through the catalogs, looking for a nice gift for Gary. I will skim through your manuscript and see whether it looks promising.
See also: skim

skim off something

also skim something off
to take something valuable The colleges with very high standards skim off the best high school graduates. State and local governments skim tax money off the company's profits.
Etymology: based on the literal meaning of skim off ( to remove something floating on a liquid)
See also: off, skim

skim off

1. To remove some floating matter from a liquid: They use a net to skim the cranberries off the surface. They skim off the dross before pouring the metal into molds.
2. To appropriate some money illegally or dishonestly: The dictator skimmed off over $1 million from international donations and deposited it in personal bank accounts. The company was skimming money off its employees' paychecks and using it to cover losses.
See also: off, skim

skim over

To read or consider something superficially and quickly: I skimmed over the reading assignment because I didn't have time to read it carefully.
See also: skim

skim through

To go through some reading material quickly or superficially: I skimmed through the movie listings to see what was playing.
See also: skim
References in periodicals archive ?
If metal has moved due to inherent stresses, and the part requires to be precise, then skim cuts are needed to bring the part into tolerance.
Based on the Food Sanitation Law, the officials ordered Snow Brand not to move the newly discovered bags as they are believed to contain skim milk produced April 10 with milk from the original batch.
Dana Scheffler of White Salmon, WA was crowned the Sno-Kona Pond Skim winner, and his runs were selected based on skimming style, costume and crowd reaction among other judging criteria.
EUROS PER TONNE 01/01/06 01/01/07 CHANGE Bulk butter 1380 1030 -25% Export subsides Skim milk powder 310 0 -100% Export subsides Whole milk powder 500 210 -58% Export subsides Cheddar 563 435 -23% Export subsides Butter 390 192.
This new equipment comprises a 30,000 litre per hour Tetra Clip 10 plate heat exchanger for milk preheating and skim pasteurization, a 3000 litre an hour Tetra Clip 6 PHE for duty as a cream pasteurizer, three hot water sets and associated pumps, valves and ancillary equipment.
SkimChicks, a grassroots organization with a shared vision for elevating and legitimizing female skim boarding, launched today with multiple endeavors aimed at driving a movement for an all-female pro tour and encouraging global recognition of the female athletes of the sport.
You must be over the age of 18 to skim Lake Goggle.
The HMRPX 518 HGV separator supplies the Tetra Alfast with skim milk and cream.
The skim disk is twice the thickness of competing disks, making it tough against the heat that warps other manufacturers' disks.
A revolutionary new nonfat milk product called Skim Delux has arrived in the Pacific Northwest that tastes so good it is changing the way many people feel about fat-free milk.
The sale of intervention stocks of butter and skim milk power, threatened for several weeks by the European Commission, began last week.
Consumers may choose from the company's whole, skim, two percent and one percent varieties.
Following a disastrous year, there are signs that international prices are on the way up for the skim and whole milk powder sector.
More significantly, production of skim milk powder fell by nearly 8% as more skim was used to produce casein and other skim milk-using products.