\ 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 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 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.

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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 Great Recession had decimated government budgets, and over the next few sessions lawmakers were forced to trim state funding across the board. Claudia Rowe, The Seattle Times, "‘Those were the darkest days’: How key budget cuts fueled Washington’s opioid crisis," 18 Aug. 2019 The possibility of another downturn has some shoppers starting to trim pricier items from their grocery lists or doubting future job prospects. Anchorage Daily News, "U.S. consumers are holding up global economy, but for how long?," 17 Aug. 2019 The possibility of another downturn has some shoppers starting to trim pricier items from their grocery lists or doubting future job prospects. Rachel Siegel, Washington Post, "American consumers are holding up the global economy. But for how long?," 17 Aug. 2019 Rather than shore up consumer confidence, meanwhile, a move by the Federal Reserve last month to trim interest rates for the first time since the Great Recession seems to have had the opposite effect. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, "U.S. trade war with China is torpedoing consumer confidence," 16 Aug. 2019 The company — long known for hardware such as switches and routers — has shifted focus to software in recent years, leading it to trim thousands of jobs related to its hardware business. Melia Russell,, "Cisco cuts nearly 500 jobs in Bay Area locations," 14 Aug. 2019 In order to accomplish a late-August season wrap, the FedEx playoffs, which previously began in New York in late August and then moved to Boston for play through Labor Day weekend, had to be trimmed from four to three events. Kevin Paul Dupont,, "PGA to-do list included return to TPC Boston," 10 Aug. 2019 Their centres are warrens built around foot traffic, that had to be trimmed, straightened and trained like rose bushes as car ownership grew. The Economist, "Streets ahead," 1 Aug. 2019 The company's stock price took a jump in mid-July after President Donald Trump signed an executive order designed to trim what the federal government spends on care for kidney patients. Grace Schneider, The Courier-Journal, "Humana's 50,000 employees will see higher bonuses after strong quarter," 31 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The Genesis Canada-market website currently displays preorder information for the G70 that includes trim level details and the tidbit about the manual transmission. Alexander Stoklosa, Car and Driver, "2019 Genesis G70 Will Have a Stick-Shift Option in Canada—What aboot the U.S., Eh?," 2 Mar. 2018 Using a sharp knife, trim edges (about 1/4 inch per side), then cut into four 2 1/4- by 6-inch strips. Cheryl Slocum, Country Living, "Pastry-Wrapped Asparagus with Balsamic Dipping Sauce," 27 Feb. 2013 When the 2020 Silverado arrives this fall, more than half of the trim levels will be available with the 6.2-liter V8 that's paired with a 10-speed automatic. Jeff Yip, Houston Chronicle, "Chevy adds new 460 lb.-ft. Duramax to 2020 Silverado 1500 lineup," 2 July 2019 Pricing The half-ton F-150 is sold in seven trim levels, three cab configurations (regular, SuperCab and SuperCrew), six engine choices and three bed lengths, 5.5, 6.5 and 8 feet. San Diego Union-Tribune, "$74,000 Ford F-150? Dearborn’s best, but love is blind," 22 June 2019 The 2019 Ghibli is sold in two performance levels in rear- or all-wheel drive with trim themes of GranLusso (luxury) or GranSport. Mark Maynard, San Diego Union-Tribune, "2019 Maserati Ghibli S Q4: from savior to the sidelines," 7 July 2019 Extract and Install Getting the old radio box out sometimes means pulling trim pieces off first, so use trim-removal tools and be gentle. Ben Wojdyla, Popular Mechanics, "How to Revamp Your Car Stereo," 7 Nov. 2012 Henderson is a town of trim homes in quiet neighborhoods, where some residents work in factories such as an aluminum plant, a nearby coal mine or in the corn and soybean fields. Chris Kenning, The Courier-Journal, "What a Kentucky town's 20-year struggle with 'Fairness' says about rural LGBTQ rights," 21 June 2019 This collection was trying to be a lot of things—a supplier for low-slung camos, a source for baroque pleated evening skirts, a home for trim tuxedo looks, and so on. Emily Farra, Vogue, "Chris Benz Was at J.Crew During Its Glory Days—Can He Bring Them Back?," 11 June 2019

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 facade used on TV is blah, a collection of nonsensical gables fronting the road, and the back aims for a faux-Cape Cod look, all cedar shingles and white trim applied to a rambling collection of rooms. Alexandra Lange, Curbed, "The Big Little Lie of the TV kitchen island," 1 Aug. 2019 This time around, the Volkswagen I.D. R arrived at Goodwood in its new Nürburgring trim. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Volkswagen’s electric racecar breaks 20-year-old Goodwood hill climb record," 5 July 2019 With its red trim, red seats and red floorboards, the LTD is a point of pride for Willie., "From the Editor: Until you experience it, it's hard to comprehend the hidden costs of being poor," 13 June 2019 Glue in Place Next comes the biggest step: Securing your trim to your shelf. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "How I Made My Boring IKEA Bookshelf Look Fancy with $20 and a Glue Gun," 13 Mar. 2019 Cowboy Cadillac The truck came in all black, minus its chromed exterior trim. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "The RAM 1500 Laramie Crew Cab fuses “luxury” and “pickup truck”," 21 Aug. 2018 Perking up your window trim with the same color also stands out. Brian Sodoma And Clare Gersh, azcentral, "Boost curb appeal by painting accents on the exterior of your home," 2 May 2018 Here's a suggestion: Try something new instead of your standby trim. Deanna Pai, Glamour, "The Coolest Spring 2018 Haircut and Color Ideas," 16 Apr. 2018 For 2018, the Versa sedan lineup has dropped its top-tier SL trim. Car and Driver, "2018 Nissan Versa," 29 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

25 Aug 2019

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 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.

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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

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).


a haphazard or makeshift solution

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