\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.

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The tree-trimming event Saturday was organized by a group called Take Back Our Community, an arm of the Rogers Park Community Council's Crime and Safety Committee. Tegan Hanlon, Anchorage Daily News, "‘Everybody’s got to do what they can’: Anchorage volunteers trim branches along city trail in effort to improve safety," 10 June 2018 The Blazers quickly trimmed the deficit to 14 after a layup by Nurkic and a three-pointer by Harkless, and the arena was its quietest of the night. Andrew Greif,, "Portland Trail Blazers collapse in 119-102 Game 3 loss to New Orleans Pelicans: Rapid Reaction," 19 Apr. 2018 In the final minutes, after Virginia led by 17 in the first half but Louisville trimmed the deficit to four at one point in the second, the Cavaliers made another late run to push the lead back to 17. Jake Lourim, The Courier-Journal, "Tensions flare late in Louisville's ACC Tournament loss to Virginia," 8 Mar. 2018 That has helped trim the currency’s year-to-date losses to around 30% against the dollar. Yeliz Candemir, WSJ, "Turkey Bond Issue Signals Brighter Outlook for Stricken Economy," 8 Nov. 2018 But then the writer's room was suspended in September with rumors of trimming the season from 13 episodes to ten. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Another Defender bites the dust as Netflix cancels Luke Cage," 19 Oct. 2018 Transfer filling to baking dish(es), lay dough over filling and trim to 1/2 inch from edge of dish(es). Tiffani Thiessen, Good Housekeeping, "Creamy Chicken Potpies," 9 Oct. 2018 The video features multiple angles of the hair-cutting session, from close-ups of the ends being trimmed to wider shots of the newly 11-year-old concentrating on her relaxed-looking mother's style. Marci Robin, Allure, "Salma Hayek Let Her 11-Year-Old Daughter Cut Her Hair," 22 Sep. 2018 That being said, shorter hair does mean less pulling, so feel free to trim to about an inch. Elizabeth Denton, Seventeen, "8 Things You Need to Know Before Getting a Bikini Wax," 2 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The line offers 55 pigments, with each gallon of wall paint or trim paint costing $49. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "New startup Clare wants to make buying paint a breeze," 31 July 2018 Repetitive cycles of uncommanded nose down stabilizer continue to occur unless the stabilizer trim system is deactivated through use of both STAB TRIM CUTOUT switches in accordance with the existing procedures in the Runaway Stabilizer NNC. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "Indonesia 737 crash caused by “safety” feature change pilots weren’t told of," 13 Nov. 2018 Enter the all new Pika teardrop trailer, which comes in an off-road trim package. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Tiny teardrop trailer sleeps 2 for under $12,000," 22 Aug. 2018 The chain-link strap of Jenner’s Longchamp pocketbook furthered the metal-trim moment, while a pair of black python Yeezy boots gave the ensemble a mod lift. Edward Barsamian, Vogue, "Olé! Olé! Kendall Jenner Elevates Toreador Style in Paris," 23 July 2018 Chevrolet will offer three trim levels: The Blazer, the RS and the Premiere. Jamie L. Lareau, Detroit Free Press, "Chevy targets midsize SUV hunger with a new Blazer," 21 June 2018 Its chief landmark is the West of the Pecos Museum, a trim sandstone building in front of which stand twin sculptures: brightly painted, 8-foot-tall cowboy boots. Jeffrey Ball, Fortune, "Photographing The Permian Basin," 25 May 2018 Interior colors depend on trim selection and exterior color. Emma Jayne Williams, star-telegram, "Hyundai’s 2018 Kona small crossover starts at $19,500, offers all-wheel drive | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 19 May 2018 There are now four trim levels, including last year's three: the SV, SL and Platinum. G. Chambers Williams Iii, Houston Chronicle, "Nissan Armada has room for up to eight, starts at $45,600," 12 Jan. 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

The nose down stabilizer trim movement can be stopped and reversed with the use of the electric stabilizer trim switches but may restart 5 seconds after the electric stabilizer trim switches are released. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "Indonesia 737 crash caused by “safety” feature change pilots weren’t told of," 13 Nov. 2018 Hot glue white trim across the bodice for the shell sash. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "How to Make a Moana Costume for Halloween," 1 Aug. 2018 Brown leather, polished silver trim, classic gauges. Scott Sturgis,, "BMW X3 gets a redesign for 2018," 28 June 2018 Hyundai had only top-trim Ultimate versions on hand for our drive in the car’s namesake Kona district on the Big Island. Andrew Wendler, Car and Driver, "2018 Hyundai Kona," 26 Mar. 2018 The jersey features a light gray base, a darker, silver trim, maroon numbers and lettering and a sleek, silver font for the players’ nameplates on the back. Jake Fischer,, "‘Gray Became the New Black’: How College Basketball Jerseys Went Platinum," 21 Mar. 2018 The top-of-the-line Ascent touring’s $44,695 does include a cargo cover as well as fancy floor mats, wood trim, ambient interior illumination and a rich-looking exclusive brown leather upholstery called java. Jeff Yip, Houston Chronicle, "Newly arrived 2019 Subaru Ascent fills three-row midsize SUV niche," 24 June 2018 The Transit Connect's cargo van variant comes in two trims, the basic XL and the XLT, as well as an extended-wheelbase model that has additional space for cargo. Cameron Rogers, Edmunds, USA TODAY, "Ready to roll: Edmunds picks best small cargo vans for businesses," 15 June 2018 The room, with its confident blue carpeting and crisp white trim overlooking a matrix of colorful, bobbing boats, exudes financial security. Laura Pappano, The Christian Science Monitor, "Ivy degree – now what? Low-income grads struggle with careers, status," 30 Mar. 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.

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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

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Statistics for trim

Last Updated

1 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for trim

The first known use of trim was circa 1521

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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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on trim

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with trim

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for trim

Spanish Central: Translation of trim

Nglish: Translation of trim for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of trim for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about trim

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