\ ˈtrim How to pronounce trim (audio) \
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 combinationthe 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 How to pronounce Trim (audio) \

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

Verb 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 Adjective She has a trim figure. He keeps fit and trim by biking. Noun 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 The other players waived in advance of needing to trim the roster to 23 men by Tuesday are Brian Lashoff, Dominic Turgeon, Turner Elson, Dylan McIlrath, Joe Hicketts, Calvin Rickard and Kevin Boyle. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Red Wings waive former first-round pick Evgeny Svechnikov," 11 Jan. 2021 But while attempting to trim the fat off bloated state firms, Beijing is also bullying private firms. Daniel Tenreiro, National Review, "Where Is Jack Ma?," 4 Jan. 2021 The Mohawk, because of its thick felt, is hard to trim without a strong cutting tool. Matt Jancer, Wired, "Gear and Tips to Winter-Proof Your Home and Stay Warm," 3 Jan. 2021 Also: ▪ The Phillies want to trim payroll but could make an exception for catcher J.T. Realmuto, who lost a suitor when the Mets decided on James McCann. Globe Staff,, "Baseball’s offseason moves are off to a slow start," 2 Jan. 2021 The Bulls don’t have to trim down their roster until Dec. 21, which is the day before the season begins. Jamal Collier,, "Chicago Bulls agree to 1-year deals with Noah Vonleh and Zach Norvell before training camp starts next week," 26 Nov. 2020 If Proposition F, the business tax overhaul on the November ballot fails, San Francisco could have to trim about $150 million from the budget, which is likely to be recouped through layoffs and service cuts. Trisha Thadani,, "S.F. Supervisors pass budget that closes $1.5 billion deficit — for now," 22 Sep. 2020 The Bengals are unlikely to keep five running backs, and NFL clubs have to trim their rosters to 53 players by Saturday at 4 p.m. ET. Tyler Dragon, The Enquirer, "Bengals RBs Samaje Perine, Jacques Patrick and Trayveon Williams playing for spots on roster," 3 Sep. 2020 The Saints, and all NFL teams, have until Aug. 16 to trim their rosters to 80 players. Staff Report,, "7 key storylines to follow as New Orleans Saints return to training camp Wednesday," 9 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Available in five trim levels, the basic L model starts at $23,065. Nicholas Wallace, Car and Driver, "Every New Mid-Size Family Sedan Ranked for 2021," 16 Jan. 2021 Most of its members were older white men with trim white beards or ruddy faces, a Leatherman looped through a belt buried at varying depths of paunch. Jeff Winkler, The Atlantic, "The Art of Cooking While Everything Burns," 30 Dec. 2020 Allow the polyurethane to dry overnight, then fasten the coat rack to a wall with two trim-head screws or keyhole hangers. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "Don't Toss That X-Mas Tree: Let's Make Something Instead," 26 Dec. 2020 The rest of the Stelvio trim levels offer all-wheel-drive standard. Roberto Baldwin, Car and Driver, "Alfa Romeo Announces Pricing and Simplified Trim Levels for 2021 Giulia and Stelvio," 17 Dec. 2020 The upper three trim levels will sport the excellent 10.25-inch touch screen accessing an app-rich environment for phone, audio, car and navi functions. Dan Neil, WSJ, "2021 Kia Sorento: Finally, an SUV That’s the Right Size for Families," 16 Dec. 2020 The trim build is perfect for stuffing in a bag and taking on the go. Jennifer Manfrin,, "With less than two weeks remaining, here are the best deals on gifts that will arrive in time," 13 Dec. 2020 The trim barrel contour keeps weight to a bit over seven pounds. Michael Dickerson, Outdoor Life, "10 Great Mid-Priced Bolt-Action Hunting Rifles," 8 Dec. 2020 The hybrid option can be had on any F-150 crew cab for a somewhat reasonable $2500 to $4495, depending on the trim level. Mike Sutton, Car and Driver, "Tested: 2021 Ford F-150 Hybrid Proves to Be an Electrifying Workhorse," 19 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Sturdy but comfortable, this 1901 shirt is trim-tailored and comes in two colors, Grey Magnet Oxford and Blue White Bengal Stripe. Alicia Kortendick, al, "Work from home wardrobe: The professional shirts and comfy sweatpants you need," 15 Apr. 2020 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 Perhaps the difference was the shoes Luka Doncic wore, the gold-trim version of his Jordan React Elevation. Dallas News, "Patience is golden: Luka Doncic’s performance vs. Heat shows the Mavericks’ star is trending up," 2 Jan. 2021 This small nylon tote comes in three stylish colors—rust, bilberry purple and garnet red—each of which comes with silver piping on the leather trim and the classic Longchamp emblem embossed in coordinating colors on the bag’s front side. Arielle Tschinkel, USA TODAY, "This best-selling Longchamp bag is hugely discounted right now at Bloomingdale's," 22 Dec. 2020 Put yellow and gray wallpaper in a laundry room, make the underbelly of the sink yellow and paint the trim gray to brighten the laundry chore. Kerri Westenberg Star Tribune, Star Tribune, "Tips for decorating your home with Pantone's Colors of the Year," 18 Dec. 2020 That goes for the interior, too, where modern, stylish shapes offset the fact that most of the trim is made from hard materials, unlike the soft surfaces widely preferred for the dash and upper doors, where drivers often lean their elbows. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "Quick takes: High-mpg diesel Suburban, quirky Genesis, excellent Elantra," 17 Dec. 2020 The faux fur trim is a toasty touch that comes in five colors. Nykia Spradley, Allure, "16 Comfortable Slippers to Keep Your Feet Cozy All Winter Long," 3 Nov. 2020 After consulting with friends, who used colored pencils on a printout of the facade to reimagine the trim, the couple fell in love with the riotous spectrum. James Tarmy,, "The Famous Postmodern ‘Crayola’ House Is for Sale," 28 Sep. 2020 Such an amount was sufficient to color just the trim of a regular-size garment, and so distilling enough dye to stain even a small piece of cloth required enormous numbers of the animals. Mark Woolmer, National Geographic, "Purple Reign: A passion for purple built the Phoenicians' vast trading empire," 24 Sep. 2020 First, remove the old trim without wrecking everything in sight. Roy Berendson, Popular Mechanics, "6 Bathroom Renovations You Can Tackle Without a Contractor," 13 Sep. 2020

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

Time Traveler for trim

Time Traveler

The first known use of trim was circa 1521

See more words from the same year

Statistics for trim

Last Updated

19 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Trim.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for trim


How to pronounce Trim (audio)

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 How to pronounce trim (audio) \
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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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