What's the meaning of "skims" (in plural)? I have just bumped into the name of this video clip named The Skims and Shaves of Bean enter image description here I've looked through the whole video and through all meanings of the noun "skim" in Webster. I don't understand which meaning of "skim" is used in the video title. While Mr. Bean does shave in the beginning of that video, there are no scenes, in which he would do anything involving skims.

  • 2
    Practically every one of the few dozen results return by googling "the skims and shaves of" is for that Youtube video (i.e. - the expression has no currency). Personally, I detect an echo of well-established scrimps and scrapes, but I don't honestly think it's worth trying to identify the "exact" meaning of skims here. Commented May 7, 2019 at 15:01
  • 2
    (That's to say skims and shaves here is just a quirky alliterative way of saying [farcical] escapades. But note that most likely they're close shaves = situations involving narrowly-avoided disaster, nothing really to do with beard or nose-hair trimming.) Commented May 7, 2019 at 15:03
  • 2
    A skim could be likened to a shave, hence, skims and shaves, are all escapades or scrapes
    – Smock
    Commented May 7, 2019 at 15:08
  • 3
    A "skim" could also allude to the best bits, via literal usages such as to skim the cream off the top of the milk. But this is all a matter of opinion and interpretation in context, not really "what the word means" in any more general sense. Commented May 7, 2019 at 15:15
  • I expect it's a play on words, situations in which Mr. Bean skims (or skirts) disaster, and has any number of close shaves.
    – Andrew
    Commented May 7, 2019 at 16:55

1 Answer 1


This is not a standard use of English. It is wordplay, perhaps playing off two idioms: "Scrimp and save" (live cheaply, spend less, save money), and "close shave" (narrowly avoid disaster). Moreover Mr Bean "skims or skirts disaster". These phrases are played with to form the title, which is not itself idiomatic, but original.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .