\ˈtrim \
trimmed; trimming

Definition of trim 

(Entry 1 of 5)

transitive verb

1a : to remove by or as if by cutting trimmed thousands from federal payrollsGrit

b : to make trim and neat especially by cutting or clipping trim the hedges

c : to free of excess or extraneous matter by or as if by cutting trim a budget trim down the inventory

2 : to embellish with or as if with ribbons, lace, or ornaments trim the Christmas tree the coat was trimmed with fur

3a : to administer a beating to : thrash

b : defeat trimmed me at chess

4a(1) : to cause (a ship) to assume a desirable position in the water by arrangement of ballast, cargo, or passengers

(2) : to adjust (something, such as an airplane or submarine) for horizontal movement or for motion upward or downward

b : to adjust (something, such as cargo or a sail) to a desired position

intransitive verb

1a : to maintain neutrality between opposing parties or to favor each equally

b : to change one's views for reasons of expediency

2 : to assume or cause a boat to assume a desired position in the water a boat that trims badly

trim one's sails

: to adjust oneself or one's actions to prevailing conditions compromise or trim your sails to suit the political winds— Philip Johnston


trimmer; trimmest

Definition of trim (Entry 2 of 5)

1 : exhibiting neatness, good order, or compactness of line or structure a trim beard trim lawns … a trim, well-built beach house not far from a spanking new superhighway.The Saturday Review

2 : slim and physically fit kept himself trim by biking every day His lithe student, trim in a tennis dress, watched while holding her racquet on her shoulder.— E. L. Doctorow

3 : ready for service or use

4 obsolete : excellent, fine



Definition of trim (Entry 3 of 5)

: in a trim manner : trimly used chiefly in combination the trim-cut forest vistas— W. M. Thackeray



Definition of trim (Entry 4 of 5)

1 : a haircut that neatens a previous haircut

2a : material used for ornament or trimming

b : the material (such as wood, stone, or vinyl) in the finish of a building especially around openings But now, marble is back in style with a vengeance, in demand for building facades, interior trim and finishes.— David Roberts In home building, carpenters build the house framework, frame the roof and interior partitions, and install doors, windows, flooring, cabinets, wood paneling, and molding and trim.Occupational Outlook Handbook

c : the interior furnishings of an automobile

d : one's clothing or appearance

3 : suitable or excellent condition tries to keep in trim

4a : the position of a ship or boat especially with reference to the horizontal also : the difference between the draft of a ship forward and that aft

b : the relation between the plane of a sail and the direction of the ship

c : the buoyancy status of a submarine

d : the attitude of a lighter-than-air craft relative to a fore-and-aft horizontal plane

e : the attitude with respect to wind axes at which an airplane will continue in level flight with free controls

5 : something that is trimmed off or cut out


geographical name
\ˈtrim \

Definition of Trim (Entry 5 of 5)

town in eastern Ireland area population 8268

Note: Trim is the capital of County Meath.

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from trim


trimly adverb
trimness noun

Examples of trim in a Sentence


The hedges need to be trimmed. They are looking for ways to trim the budget. We trimmed the Christmas tree. a pillow trimmed in lace


She has a trim figure. He keeps fit and trim by biking.


a skirt with lace trim the doctor declared her to be in good trim for the race
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Morgan used to trim branches from the tree in Simonsen’s front yard every spring. Lizzie Johnson,, "Regret haunts Wine Country fire hero: ‘I’ve never cried this much’," 13 July 2018 Analysts have urged other carriers including American to trim capacity as well. Alison Sider, WSJ, "Delta to Increase Fares, Trim Flights as Fuel Prices Rise," 12 July 2018 To keep her brows from getting too unruly, Skye plucks any hairs that are out of place and uses a brush and scissors to trim. Blake Bakkila,, "4 Products Emily Skye Uses for Full, Natural Brows," 12 July 2018 Because Colleyville’s property valuations will increase by about 9 percent, the city is able to trim the tax rate and still operate on the same budget. Gordon Dickson And Nicholas Sakelaris, star-telegram, "Priced out of their home? North Texans see tax bill rise $1,200 in five years," 6 July 2018 The deal was calculated to trim $775 million or more from the residential and commercial utility bills through 2022. Jeff Mcdonald,, "PUC judge gives approval to proposed San Onofre settlement," 25 June 2018 The film's weakest moments come when explanatory scenes appear to be trimmed or downright cut to maintain a brisk pace. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Incredibles 2 review: Brad Bird, Pixar are on fire with this superhero sequel," 15 June 2018 Slower growth in recent years has strengthened the hands of political leaders looking to trim the safety-net. The Economist, "Does inequality cause suicide, drug abuse and mental illness?," 14 June 2018 Ax murder In the summer of 1976, two American soldiers were hacked to death by ax-wielding North Korean soldiers during a fight over U.S. efforts to trim a poplar tree at Demilitarized Zone that bisects the Koreas. Time, "From Spy Games to Summits, Here Are 10 Historic Moments in U.S.-North Korean Relations," 11 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Overall weight has been lowered by up to 176 pounds, depending on trim level. G. Chambers Williams Iii, Houston Chronicle, "Honda Accord debuts for 2018 with its first-ever turbocharged engines," 15 June 2018 Overall weight has been lowered by up to 176 pounds, depending on trim level. G. Chambers Williams Iii, star-telegram, "All-new Honda Accord debuts for 2018 with its first-ever turbocharged engines | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 12 May 2018 And shoppers who love tech will appreciate the infotainment system found in higher trim levels., "Year-end incentives cut thousands off new car prices," 20 Dec. 2017 The interiors of both look great, with soft touch materials on nearly every surface, ambient lighting and attractive concave trim panels with unusual trim that looked like three-dimensional pieces of metal. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "2019 Volvo XC40 SUV has wireless phone charging, carryout bag hook," 23 May 2018 That extra coin gets you the second-best trim level Chevy offers, along with heated front seats with leather trim, remote start and other goodies. Robert Duffer,, "Review: 2017 Chevy Cruze puts diesel back on track with great highway fuel economy," 2 May 2017 Keeping himself trim and fit turned into a healthy and happy lifestyle. Johnny Gorches, Post-Tribune, "'I'm so lucky and blessed': Portage's Buster Battreall gives up basketball, becomes nationally known with Ford Models," 14 July 2018 The noses of the half-ton differ according to trim levels as well as available chrome, black or monochromatic appearance packages. Jeff Yip, Houston Chronicle, "Ram scores first strike as roomier, cushier all-new 2019 Ram 1500 begins shipping," 26 Mar. 2018 Now through the end of the month, Hyundai is offering $2,000 off most trim levels. Kelsey Mays, USA TODAY, "Buying a new car? Here are the four best deals," 19 Feb. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Eliminating the resources that are underutilized, making the budget as trim as possible. Alec Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Merton School Board candidates debate budget priorities, school safety, community engagement," 28 Feb. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In one photo of the celebration, Penelope is all smiles while wearing a pink hat with a gold tinsel trim. Jen Juneau,, "Kim Kardashian West Wishes Niece Penelope a Happy Birthday with Hilarious Side-Eye Photo," 9 July 2018 And on Tuesday, her British-looking hat transformation seemed to be complete, as Meghan was spotted at the Royal Ascot in a modern-ish, sculptural black-and-white hat with a translucent trim. Lisa Ryan, The Cut, "Meghan Markle Wears Her Most British Hat Yet," 19 June 2018 First, Jessie B preps her pubes with a trim, followed by a soak in the bath to soften up the hair follicles. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Beauty Vlogger Jessie B Uses Olive Oil to Shave Her Bikini Line, But Is It Safe?," 12 June 2018 The trimmer combines a sleek, travel-ready design with a truly comfortable and effortless trim. Reviewed Staff, USA TODAY, "The 24 best Father's Day gifts of 2018," 8 June 2018 Jeep off-roading and performance fans were even treated to a glimpse of a new trim to bolster the Trailhawk and Trackhawk — the Deserthawk. Eric D. Lawrence, Detroit Free Press, "Fiat Chrysler plans to drive Jeep, Ram to worldwide profit," 1 June 2018 The crooner was in a bind, with a bum leg and a pompadour in bad need of a trim. Mike Newall,, "South Philly's barber to the stars now cuts hair in a changing neighborhood | Mike Newall," 9 May 2018 The musical could use a trim of some of the longer and slower ballads throughout, though. Marissa Oberlander, Chicago Reader, "Chicago Shakespeare’s Peter Pan is a soaring delight for both kids and adults," 11 July 2018 Jack was tasked with painting the trim on the second-floor windows. Mike Kerrigan, WSJ, "Summer Jobs Teach Real-World Lessons," 31 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'trim.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of trim


circa 1521, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2


circa 1521, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1529, in the meaning defined above


circa 1593, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for trim


probably from Middle English *trimmen to prepare, put in order, from Old English trymian, trymman to strengthen, arrange, from trum strong, firm; probably akin to Old English trēo tree, wood — more at tree entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about trim

Phrases Related to trim

in trim

trim down

Statistics for trim

Last Updated

6 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for trim

The first known use of trim was circa 1521

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for trim



English Language Learners Definition of trim

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: to cut (something) off something else : to remove (something) by cutting

: to make (something) neat by cutting it

: to make the size, amount, or extent of (something) smaller



English Language Learners Definition of trim (Entry 2 of 3)

: neat and orderly

: slim and healthy



English Language Learners Definition of trim (Entry 3 of 3)

: an act of trimming something (such as hair)

: material (such as ribbons, lace, etc.) that is used for decorating something especially around its edges


\ˈtrim \
trimmed; trimming

Kids Definition of trim

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : to put decorations on : adorn The dress is trimmed in lace.

2 : to make neat especially by cutting or clipping He trimmed his beard.

3 : to free of unnecessary matter We need to trim our expenses.

4 : to adjust (as a sail) to a desired position

Other Words from trim

trimmer noun


trimmer; trimmest

Kids Definition of trim (Entry 2 of 3)

: neat and compact in line or structure a trim house She maintains a trim figure.

Other Words from trim

trimly adverb



Kids Definition of trim (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : material used for ornament or trimming The jacket has fake fur trim.

2 : the woodwork in the finish of a building especially around doors and windows

3 : an act or instance of cutting or clipping I'm going to the barber for a trim.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on trim

What made you want to look up trim? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


required by fashion, etiquette, or custom

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!