• Trim


    • Rhymes: -ɪm


    Old English trymman

    Full definition of trim


    1. (transitive) To reduce slightly; to cut; especially, to remove excess; e.g. 'trim a hedge', 'trim a beard'.
      Place the screen material in the frame, secure it in place, and trim the edges.
      The company trimmed jobs for the second time this year.
    2. (transitive) To decorate or adorn; especially, to decorate a Christmas tree.
      • MiltonA rotten building newly trimmed over.
      • ShakespeareI was trimmed in Julia's gown.
      • 1963, Margery Allingham, The China Governess Chapter 1, The half-dozen pieces … were painted white and carved with festoons of flowers, birds and cupids.   The bed was the most extravagant piece.  Its graceful cane halftester rose high towards the cornice and was so festooned in carved white wood that the effect was positively insecure, as if the great couch were trimmed with icing sugar.
    3. They traditionally trim the tree on Christmas Eve.
    4. (transitive, nautical) To modify the angle of a vessel to the water by shifting cargo or ballast; to adjust for sailing; to assume, or cause a vessel to assume, a certain position, or trim, in the water. (FM 55-501).
    5. (transitive, nautical) To modify the angle of a vessel's sails relative to the wind, especially to set the sails to the most advantageous angle.
    6. (dated) To balance; to fluctuate between parties, so as to appear to favour each.
    7. To make trim; to put in due order for any purpose; to make right, neat, or pleasing; to adjust.
      • GoldsmithThe hermit trimmed his little fire.
    8. (carpentry) To dress (timber); to make smooth.
    9. (dated) To rebuke; to reprove; also, to beat.



    (plural trims)
    1. (uncountable) Decoration; especially, decoration placed along edges or borders.Paint the house white with blue trim.
    2. (countable) A haircut, especially a moderate one to touch up an existing style.I went to the hairdresser for a trim but came back nearly bald.
    3. Dress; gear; ornaments.
      • Sir Walter Scottseeing him just pass the window in his woodland trim
    4. (countable) The manner in which something is equipped or adorned; order; disposition.The car comes in three different trims.to be in good trim
    5. (uncountable, slang, mildly vulgar) Sexual intercourse.
    6. (nautical) The fore-and-aft angle of the vessel to the water, with reference to the cargo and ballast; the manner in which a vessel floats on the water, whether on an even keel or down by the head or stern.
    7. (nautical) The arrangement of the sails with reference to the wind.



    1. physically fitHe goes jogging every day to keep trim.
    2. slender, lean; as a trim figure
    3. neat or smart in appearance; as a trim lawn
      • 1599, William Shakespeare, ,... manhood is melted into curtsies, valour into compliment, and men are only turned into tongue, and trim ones too: he is now as valiant as Hercules that only tells a lie and swears it.



    1. (nautical) In good order, properly managed or maintained.
    2. (nautical) With sails well trimmed.#: The vessel sailed trimly out of harbour.

    Usage notes

    More often used in combinations, eg, "trim-sailed".


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