There are 2 main definitions of trim in English:

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trim 1

Pronunciation: /trɪm/

verb (trims, trimming, trimmed)

[with object]
1Make (something) neat or of the required size or form by cutting away irregular or unwanted parts: trim the grass using a sharp mower
More example sentences
  • His fingernails were trimmed to a neat band of white.
  • Grapes harvested are collected in a shed, where groups of women trim the fruit into neat little bunches for about $1 day.
  • When it came to her diet, Randi decided to make small but significant changes: She started by trimming her portion sizes and adding a vegetable or a dark-green leafy salad to every meal.
cut, barber, crop, bob, shorten, clip, snip, shear;
1.1 [with object and adverbial] Cut off (irregular or unwanted parts): he was trimming the fat off some pork chops
More example sentences
  • Sortings were anything trimmed away as scrap or considered of lesser quality than the writing paper eventually packaged and sold.
  • Its fat was trimmed away from the meat, then the meat from its bones, which were then wrapped in strips of its fat and roasted over a roaring fire.
  • Examples survive of all of these, although the intention must have been for them to be obscured by painting or trimmed away in the completed manuscript.
1.2Reduce the size, amount, number, or cost of: Congress had to decide which current defence programmes should be trimmed
More example sentences
  • Costs have been trimmed, new technology installed, the product range reduced and the workforce cut from 18,000 to 7,000.
  • It added the move would be good for the company's cost base by trimming the ‘increasing cost burden of complying with US securities regulations’.
  • This isn't to say programs haven't been trimmed; some have.
reduce, decrease, make reductions in, cut down, cut back on, make cutbacks in, scale down, prune, slim down, pare down, salami-slice, dock, retrench on
1.3 [no object] (trim down) (Of a person) lose weight; become slimmer: he trimmed down from twenty-two stone to a mere eighteen
More example sentences
  • If you're looking for a successful, safe and exciting way to trim down and lose weight, then Weight Watchers is available to you each week in the Ardkeen Community Centre.
  • You have spent the summer trimming down to photo-op weight, and are itching to get it on with that smiling angel from the West.
  • She joined the Slimming World group at St Mary's Infants' School and in just four months had trimmed down to her target weight of 9st 6lbs.
1.4Firm up or lose weight from (a part of one’s body): the machine is ideal for trimming the waist, hips, and thighs
More example sentences
  • He was put on a strict diet and exercise plan that trimmed away 39 pounds in 24 days.
  • I trimmed down your nose and face, and made you thin.
  • Although still a big guy, he has considerably trimmed down his once hefty waistline and pumped up his upper torso.
2Decorate (something), typically with contrasting items or pieces of material: a pair of black leather gloves trimmed with fake fur
More example sentences
  • The sleeves and seams are trimmed with reflective material that's usually found on running shoes.
  • It was midnight blue and the sleeves and neckline were trimmed with white, and the material was glowing in the dim light.
  • The hem was trimmed with white beads, and pearls and rubies framed the neck.
3Adjust (a sail) to take advantage of the wind: her jobs include trimming the spinnaker and dealing with the yacht’s plumbing
More example sentences
  • While trimming sails as a beginner, Pogell discovered that the sport was an ideal vehicle for personal growth.
  • David was meticulously trimming the mainsail when Howard stumbled out of the aft cabin and went up on deck, blinking in morning sunshine.
  • They trimmed the sails in out, in out, for hours and it made the difference.
3.1Adjust the balance of (a ship or aircraft) by rearranging its cargo or by means of its trim tabs.
Example sentences
  • As the power changes, the airplane naturally trims nose-down, so the pilot trims up to compensate.
3.2Keep or adjust the degree to which (an aircraft) can be maintained at a constant altitude without any control forces being present.
Example sentences
  • A properly trimmed airplane will do its best to maintain a constant speed should the pilot become momentarily distracted.
  • As soon as the airspeed is steady in the climb, trim the aircraft to hold that attitude hands-off.
  • Next, direct the flight engineer to take over the engines and trim the airplane for the best climbing airspeed.
3.3 [no object] Adapt one’s views to the prevailing political trends for personal advancement.
Example sentences
  • The Catholic church is not a political party, trimming to pick up votes.
  • The resolution was sponsored by the United States, though trimmed and weakened under pressure from various security Council members.
  • Pick a politician who did not trim and you find huge flaws alongside great strengths.
4 informal, dated Get the better of (someone), typically by cheating them out of money.
5 informal, dated Rebuke (someone) angrily.


[mass noun]
1Additional decoration, typically along the edges of something and in contrasting colour or material: a red blazer with gold trim [count noun]: the buildings were off-white with a blue trim
More example sentences
  • For most of the day I work on that one spot, taping along the marble trim, sealing the edge of the tape, painting and then repainting the bands.
  • Exposed edges should be fastened to floor surfaces with trim along that edge.
  • When they are in the light times, they dress in fine apparel with bright colours and gold trim.
decoration, trimming, ornamentation, adornment, embellishment;
border, edging, piping, purfling, rickrack, hem, fringe, frill
1.1Decorative additions to a vehicle, typically the upholstery or interior lining of a car: refinements such as air conditioning and leather trim
More example sentences
  • The Limited also has steering-wheel wood trim, a power rear sunshade, and bumper moldings with chrome-inserts.
  • The car has a completely new dashboard and interior trim, with echoes of the TT sportster.
  • So perhaps it could be sporty in terms of interior trim.
2 [count noun] An act of cutting something in order to neaten it: his hair needs a trim
More example sentences
  • He looked a little messy, with his hair desperately needing a trim as it was always ruffled.
  • Speaking of hair that needed a trim, Liam had really let himself go.
  • His brown hair needed a trim even as it curled darkly over the color of his faded green shirt.
2.1A short piece of film cut out during the final editing stage.
Example sentences
  • What we do get is a collection of about 24 additional out-takes and deleted scenes, a chance to see the trims and edits that went into creating some of the film's best sequences.
  • There are a few deleted scenes, but for the most part these are trims and pieces of footage that the Association most likely made them cut.
  • In addition, we get some deleted scenes, about ten minutes in total, which highlight tidbits and trims made to thin out the running time.
3The state of being in good order or condition: no one had been there for months—everything was out of trim
More example sentences
  • His counterpart was a short, compact man, obviously in the type of shape and trim that came from self-indulgent working out.
  • This company isn't just back in fighting trim - it's stronger than ever.
  • Keep in fighting trim, people; we will be needing you soon.
4The degree to which an aircraft can be maintained at a constant altitude without any control forces being present: the pilot’s only problem was the need to constantly readjust the trim
More example sentences
  • Part of the reason is that during this test flight, primary trim pitch control aboard the aircraft was lost.
  • For search and rescue missions the rescue hoist and winch are installed on the starboard side and the helicopter operates under hover trim control.
  • Pitch was the only axis of trim, and the control was mounted on the roof and activated by a horizontal crank.
5The way in which a ship floats in the water, especially in relation to the fore-and-aft line: ships' masters had to check trim and stability before departure
More example sentences
  • A quick trip from the cabin to check the tiller and sail trim and to scan for other shipping, and the skipper was in from the cold again.
  • No witness before the Subcommittee was able to offer any reasonable suggestion to explain how the ship could have gotten out of trim in that 24-hour period.
  • In consequence, a nuclear submarine proceeding at quite high speeds for protracted periods could become substantially out of trim.

adjective (trimmer, trimmest)

1Neat and smart in appearance; in good order: she kept her husband’s clothes neat and trim a trim little villa
More example sentences
  • These neat and trim premises and surrounds are a credit to the school's scholars and teachers.
  • These very trim and neat little craft will be a big addition to the club for their one class racing events.
  • The numerous choices include various preferences, faders on/off, smart and trim tool selections and more.
smart, stylish, chic, spruce, dapper, elegant, crisp
informal natty, sharp
North American informal spiffy
archaic trig
neat, tidy, neat and tidy, as neat as a new pin, orderly, in (good) order, well kept, well looked-after, well maintained, shipshape (and Bristol fashion), in apple-pie order, immaculate, spick and span, uncluttered, straight, spruce
archaic tricksy
1.1Slim and fit: she has a trim, athletic figure
More example sentences
  • The slim, trim title, suggesting an anthology of prefaces as an art form, is a leftover from Gray's earliest plan for the book.
  • All qualities, one may contend, perfect to maintain a slim and trim posture.
  • It is likely enough that pupils painted the background into which the master inserted the Teniers-like bright individual figures and their trim dogs.



in trim

Slim and fit: she keeps herself in trim with visits to the health club
More example sentences
  • Shepherd, older brother of former European super-featherweight title contender Charles, keeps in trim by running every day on the sands close to his Silloth home.
  • There was a graduated scale of different exercises, designed to keep the muscles in trim, as well as giving the heart a little exercise as well.
  • Mark cycles in his spare time, but has been using gym and static indoor cycling - or spinning - machines to keep him in trim during wet weather.
fit, fighting fit, as fit as a fiddle, in good health, in good condition, in fine fettle, aerobicized;
slim, in shape
Nautical 1.1 In good order.
Example sentences
  • In any case of tuberculosis, provide proper fuel, keep the furnace in trim, remove the clinkers.
  • And behind the pristine greens are the people who keep it all in trim - the unsung heroes of the fairways
  • The Ballymoon concern were impressive when beating Van-Elle of Westmeath a month ago and the Burnside brigade have kept in trim since by availing of Duffy Rovers indoor facilities.

trim one's sails (to the wind)

Make changes to suit one’s new circumstances.
Example sentences
  • And Mr. Welch's singular skill has been taking fat, inefficient corporations and trimming their sails.
  • We're hoping Congress can go on somewhat of a fiscal diet and start trimming their sails and stop spending so much money.
  • So I've sailed under false colors many a time, trimming my sails to the prevailing winds.



Example sentences
  • We have a better representation of Queen Catherine in Dirk Stoop's trimly designed portrait (National Portrait Gallery).
  • Through the open doors one views a landscape with a cathedral and a trimly built manor-house.
  • Her eyes softened as she looked up at Damian, ‘Ok, just don't let it happen again’ she trimly purred with deadly implications.


Pronunciation: /ˈtrɪmnəs/
Example sentences
  • The Avon winds through the grounds which are laid out in the English fashion - though with a certain absence of the stiffness and trimness of English pleasure grounds.
  • I love the trimness and casual uniformity of estate villages; they are what foreigners probably imagine all English villages to be like and, of course, come complete with squire.
  • The anxiety is not about the trimness of their figures, but the decorations on the shoulders and neck of the army uniform, when donned by senior officers.


Old English trymman, trymian 'make firm, arrange', of which the adjective appears to be a derivative. The word's history is obscure; current verb senses date from the early 16th century when usage became frequent and served many purposes: this is possibly explained by spoken or dialect use in the Middle English period not recorded in extant literature.

  • The history and development of this word are obscure, and shows how dependent we are on luck for the survival of the information we need. Trim appeared in Old English in the sense ‘to make firm, arrange’, but there is little record of it in the medieval period. From the 16th century, though, it burst on the scene to serve many purposes, relating to fitting out ships for sea, preparing a candle wick for use, repairing something, decorating clothing, and cutting away the unwanted parts of something. A trim ship was well equipped and in good condition, which gave us the sense of a slim and fit person having a trim figure. To a sailor to trim a sail means ‘to adjust the sail of a boat’. On land to trim your sails came to mean ‘to make changes to suit your new circumstances’, from which we get a trimmer (late 17th century) for an unscrupulous person who adapts their views to the prevailing political trends.

Words that rhyme with trim

bedim, brim, crim, dim, glim, grim, Grimm, gym, him, hymn, Jim, Kim, limb, limn, nim, prim, scrim, shim, Sim, skim, slim, swim, Tim, vim, whim

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There are 2 main definitions of trim in English:

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Trim 2

Pronunciation: /trɪm/
A town in Meath, in the Republic of Ireland, situated to the north-west of Dublin; population 7,700 (est. 2009).

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