\ 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

Police say Walden was sitting on a tree limb and using a chain saw to trim other limbs. Washington Post, "The Latest: Dorian a flood, storm surge threat to US Coast," 5 Sep. 2019 Joseph Walden, 56, was sitting on a tree limb and using a chainsaw to trim other limbs in the Orlando suburb of Ocoee when one of the cut limbs broke free and knocked him to the ground, police said. Meg Kinnard,, "Dorian creeps up US coast; near-record storm surge is feared," 4 Sep. 2019 Brazil was down by 17 at one point in the first half but managed to trim Greece's lead to 10 at halftime. Alaa Abdeldaiem,, "Brazil Coach Rips Giannis Antetokounmpo After Beating Greece in FIBA World Cup," 3 Sep. 2019 The impending Brexit quake is sure to trim European growth, Italy is in crisis, climate change is creating new problems and China is facing a slowdown. Frida Ghitis For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, "America-first trade policy is crushing the global economy," 1 Sep. 2019 The Lions have until 4 p.m. Saturday to trim another 36 players from their 90-man roster. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions release Zach Zenner, likely going light at RB position," 27 Aug. 2019 In a world of low inflation, the ability to trim pay by raising wages less than inflation is lost to firms, with serious macroeconomic consequences. The Economist, "Prices for many goods do not move the way economists think they should," 8 Aug. 2019 Companies are looking to trim hourly labor costs, which have grown when compared with Southern U.S. factories run by Toyota, Nissan, Hyundai-Kia, Volkswagen and others. Tom Krisher,, "Detroit contract talks: Four things to know as autoworkers seek bigger share of the profits," 15 July 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

In fact, some (not your son’s!) have a lean line, a trim fit and are made of tech fabric. Ellen Warren,, "Fighting with your teen over his sweatpants — time to pick your battles," 4 Sep. 2019 The cabin The interior has the finesse of the large Phantom sedan, with substance to the materials used and heft to the chrome and other trim pieces. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUV: a royal rite of passage," 2 Aug. 2019 The America’s Got Talent judge surprised fans with his trim physique Tuesday night on the red carpet, wearing a tight-fitting gray shirt and black pants. Rachel Desantis,, "Simon Cowell's Vegan Diet Helped Him Lose 20 Lbs.: 'I've Found It Quite Enjoyable'," 14 Aug. 2019 Three trim packages are available: Premium, Luxury, and F-Sport. Frank A. Aukofer, Houston Chronicle, "2019 LEXUS UX 250h: Luxury hybrid comes with all-wheel drive," 14 July 2019 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

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 actress’s transitional look included a floral maxi skirt with a lace trim by Paco Rabanne. Vogue, "Priyanka Chopra Shows How to Do the Maxi Skirt for Fall," 4 Sep. 2019 Something about the shade evokes the California sky, with the yellow trim suggesting sunniness and the lightning bolts on the helmets, sleeves and pants adding an extra jolt of cool., "A History of Football in 100 Objects," 28 Aug. 2019 In one wartime poll, a third of Americans reported wanting to own a plane, so car manufacturers built cars that were winged, wide, and streamlined, with jet-engine trim. Nathan Heller, The New Yorker, "Was the Automotive Era a Terrible Mistake?," 22 July 2019 The one-story Craftsman bungalow, painted grey with dark trim, had been on and off the market — and didn’t look a bit of its 93 years. Louis Hansen, The Mercury News, "The (nearly) impossible search for a cheap Bay Area home," 14 July 2019 The retailer also has two similar versions in navy with light blue or red trim for $50 and $45, respectively. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "You Can Rent Ali Larter's Blazer-Inspired Cover-Up for $55," 2 July 2019 Fraysier said the current plan is to install 6-foot-wide sidewalks with decorative red brick trim. Kathleen Mcwilliams,, "More improvements are coming to the Silas Deane Highway through Rocky Hill," 25 June 2019 His car, the green one, had his Anchorage High school letter jacket hanging off it, black with orange trim. Annie Zak, Anchorage Daily News, "‘You felt like you knew everybody’: Remembering a time when Anchorage had only 1 high school," 23 June 2019 There's a certain satisfaction that comes with a summer trim. Megan Decker,, "Hilary Duff Just Stepped Out With The Perfect Summer Haircut," 15 June 2019

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

8 Sep 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

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recurring in steady succession

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