What does trim mean?

Definitions for trim

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word trim.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. trim, trimnessnoun

    a state of arrangement or appearance

    "in good trim"

  2. trimming, trim, passementerienoun

    a decoration or adornment on a garment

    "the trimming on a hat"; "the trim on a shirt"

  3. trimnoun

    attitude of an aircraft in flight when allowed to take its own orientation

  4. trim, trimming, clippingadjective

    cutting down to the desired size or shape

  5. spare, trimadjective

    thin and fit

    "the spare figure of a marathon runner"; "a body kept trim by exercise"

  6. shipshape, trim, well-keptadjective

    of places; characterized by order and neatness; free from disorder

    "even the barn was shipshape"; "a trim little sailboat"

  7. clean-cut, trig, trimadjective

    neat and smart in appearance

    "a clean-cut and well-bred young man"; "the trig corporal in his jaunty cap"; "a trim beard"

  8. tailored, trimverb

    severely simple in line or design

    "a neat tailored suit"; "tailored curtains"

  9. pare, trimverb

    remove the edges from and cut down to the desired size

    "pare one's fingernails"; "trim the photograph"; "trim lumber"

  10. trimverb

    decorate, as with ornaments

    "trim the christmas tree"; "trim a shop window"

  11. reduce, cut down, cut back, trim, trim down, trim back, cut, bring downverb

    cut down on; make a reduction in

    "reduce your daily fat intake"; "The employer wants to cut back health benefits"

  12. trimverb

    balance in flight by regulating the control surfaces

    "trim an airplane"

  13. trimverb

    be in equilibrium during a flight

    "The airplane trimmed"

  14. trim, garnish, dressverb

    decorate (food), as with parsley or other ornamental foods

  15. snip, clip, crop, trim, lop, dress, prune, cut backverb

    cultivate, tend, and cut back the growth of

    "dress the plants in the garden"

  16. shave, trimverb

    cut closely

    "trim my beard"

  17. trimverb

    adjust (sails on a ship) so that the wind is optimally used


  1. trimnoun

    decoration; especially, decoration placed along edges or borders

    Paint the house white with blue trim.

  2. trimnoun

    a haircut, especially a moderate one to touch up an existing style

    I went to the hairdresser for a trim and came back nearly bald.

  3. trimnoun

    the manner in which something is equipped or adorned; especially, of a car

    The car comes in three different trims.

  4. trimnoun

    sexual intercourse

  5. trimnoun

    The fore-and-aft angle of the vessel to the water, with reference to the cargo and ballast; the manner in which a vessel floats on the water, whether on an even keel or down by the head or stern

  6. trimnoun

    The arrangement of the sails with reference to the wind.

  7. trimverb

    to reduce slightly; to cut; especially, to remove excess; e.g. 'trim a hedge', 'trim a beard'.

  8. trimverb

    to decorate or adorn; especially, to decorate a Christmas tree

    They traditionally trim the tree on Christmas Eve.

  9. trimverb

    To modify the angle of a vessel to the water by shifting cargo or ballast; to adjust for sailing; to assume, or cause a vessel to assume, a certain position, or trim, in the water. (FM 55-501).

  10. trimverb

    To modify the angle of a vessel's sails relative to the wind, especially to set the sails to the most advantageous angle.

  11. trimadverb

    In good order, properly managed or maintained.

  12. trimadverb

    With sails well trimmed.

  13. trimadjective

    physically fit

    He goes jogging every day to keep trim.

  14. trimadjective

    slender, lean; as a trim figure

  15. trimadjective

    neat or smart in appearance; as a trim lawn

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Trimadjective

    Nice; smug; dressed up.

    Etymology: getrymmeð , Saxon, completed.

    Tone paine in cottage doth take,
    When t’other trim bowers do make. Thomas Tusser, Husb.

    A trim exploit, a manly enterprize,
    To conjure tears up in a poor maid’s eyes
    With your derision. William Shakespeare, Midsummer Night’s Dream.

    The Dorick order has, in comparison of those that follow, a more masculine aspect, and little trimmer than the Tuscan that went before, save a sober garnishment now and then of lions heads in the cornice, and of triglyphs and metopes always in the frize. Henry Wotton, Architect.

    Dost thou not blush to live so like a beast,
    So trim, so dissolute, so loosely drest. John Dryden, Persius.

  2. Trimnoun

    Dress; geer; ornaments.

    They come like sacrifices in their trim,
    And to the five-ey’d maid of smoaky war,
    All hot, and bleeding, will we offer them. William Shakespeare.

    Your laboursome and dainty trims, wherein
    You made great Juno angry. William Shakespeare, Cymbeline.

    The goodly London in her gallant trim,
    The phœnix daughter of the vanquish’d old,
    Like a rich bride does to the ocean swim,
    And on her shadow rides in floating gold. Dryden.

  3. To Trimverb

    Etymology: trimman , Saxon, to build.

    Malicious censurers ever,
    As rav’nous fishes do a vessel follow
    That is new trimm’d. William Shakespeare, Henry VIII.

    Our youth got me to play the woman’s part,
    And I was trim’d in Julia’s gown. William Shakespeare.

    Pennyroyal and orpin they use in the country to trim their houses, binding it with a lath against a wall. Francis Bacon.

    Two arts attend architecture, like her principal gentlewomen, to dress and trim her, picture and sculpture. Henry Wotton.

    The victim ox that was for altars prest,
    Trimm’d with white ribbons and with garlands drest,
    Sunk of himself. John Dryden, Georg.

    Mephibosheth had neither dressed his feet, nor trimmed his beard. 2 Sam. xix. 24.

    Clip and trim those tender strings like a beard. Brown.

    The barber may trim religion as he pleases. James Howell.

    Trim off the small superfluous branches. John Mortimer.

    I found her trimming up the diadem
    On her dead mistress. William Shakespeare, Ant. and Cleopatra.

    Go, sirrah, to my cell, as you look
    To have my pardon, trim it handsomely. William Shakespeare.

    Yet are the men more loose than they!
    More kemb’d, and bath’d, and rubb’d, and trimm’d
    More sleek, more soft, and slacker limb’d. Ben Jonson.

    To blast the living, gave the dead their due,
    And wreaths, herself had tainted, trimm’d anew. Thomas Tickell.

    When workmen fit a piece into other work, they say they trim in a piece. Joseph Moxon, Mech. Exercises.

    Each muse in Leo’s golden days
    Starts from her trance, and trims her wither’d bays. Alexander Pope.

    Sir Roger put his coachman to trim the boat. Spectator.

    He gave you all the duties of a man,
    Trimm’d up your praises with a princely tongue,
    Spoke your deservings like a chronicle. William Shakespeare.

  4. To Trimverb

    To balance; to fluctuate between two parties.

    If such by trimming and time-serving, which are but two words for the same thing, betray the church by nauseating her pious orders, this will produce confusion. Robert South, Serm.

    For men to pretend that their will obeys that law, while all besides their will serves the faction; what is this but a gross, fulsome juggling with their duty, and a kind of trimming it between God and the devil. Robert South, Sermons.

    He who heard what ev’ry fool cou’d say,
    Wou’d never fix his thought, but trim his time away. John Dryden, Hind and Panther.


  1. trim

    Trim generally refers to the act of cutting off, removing, or reducing something. It can refer to making something neat or smaller in size by cutting away irregular or unwanted parts. It can also mean decorating or adding a finishing touch to something. In other contexts, it could refer to the upholstery, finish, accessories, or extras included in a vehicle or a building.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Trimverb

    to make trim; to put in due order for any purpose; to make right, neat, or pleasing; to adjust

  2. Trimverb

    to dress; to decorate; to adorn; to invest; to embellish; as, to trim a hat

  3. Trimverb

    to make ready or right by cutting or shortening; to clip or lop; to curtail; as, to trim the hair; to trim a tree

  4. Trimverb

    to dress, as timber; to make smooth

  5. Trimverb

    to adjust, as a ship, by arranging the cargo, or disposing the weight of persons or goods, so equally on each side of the center and at each end, that she shall sit well on the water and sail well; as, to trim a ship, or a boat

  6. Trimverb

    to arrange in due order for sailing; as, to trim the sails

  7. Trimverb

    to rebuke; to reprove; also, to beat

  8. Trimverb

    to balance; to fluctuate between parties, so as to appear to favor each

  9. Trimnoun

    dress; gear; ornaments

  10. Trimnoun

    order; disposition; condition; as, to be in good trim

  11. Trimnoun

    the state of a ship or her cargo, ballast, masts, etc., by which she is well prepared for sailing

  12. Trimnoun

    the lighter woodwork in the interior of a building; especially, that used around openings, generally in the form of a molded architrave, to protect the plastering at those points

  13. Trimverb

    fitly adjusted; being in good order., or made ready for service or use; firm; compact; snug; neat; fair; as, the ship is trim, or trim built; everything about the man is trim; a person is trim when his body is well shaped and firm; his dress is trim when it fits closely to his body, and appears tight and snug; a man or a soldier is trim when he stands erect


  1. Trim

    Trim or trimming in clothing and home decorating is applied ornament, such as gimp, passementerie, ribbon, ruffles, or, as a verb, to apply such ornament. Before the industrial revolution, all trim was made and applied by hand, thus making heavily trimmed furnishings and garments expensive and high-status. Machine-woven trims and sewing machines put these dense trimmings within the reach of even modest dressmakers and home sewers, and an abundance of trimming is a characteristic of mid-Victorian fashion. As a predictable reaction, high fashion came to emphasize exquisiteness of cut and construction over denseness of trimming, and applied trim became a signifier of mass-produced clothing by the 1930s. The iconic braid and gold button trim of the Chanel suit are a notable survival of trim in high fashion. In home decorating, the 1980s and 1990s saw a fashion for dense, elaborately layered trimmings on upholstered furniture and drapery. Today, most trimmings are commercially manufactured. Scalamandré is known for elaborate trim for home furnishings, and Wrights is a leading manufacturer of trim for home sewing and crafts. Trims are used generally to enhance the beauty of the garments. It attracts buyers. Appropriate use of it creates more value of the product.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Trim

    trim, adj. in good order: nice.—v.t. to make trim: to put in due order: to dress: to decorate: to clip: to reduce to proper form: to arrange for sailing: to rebuke sharply, to thrash.—v.i. to balance or fluctuate between parties:—pr.p. trim′ming; pa.t. and pa.p. trimmed.—n. dress: ornaments: state of a ship as to sailing qualities: arrangement.—adv. Trim′ly.—ns. Trim′mer, one who trims: one who fluctuates between parties, a time-server: a scold: a small horizontal beam on a floor into which the ends of joists are framed: a float bearing a baited hook and line, used in fishing for pike; Trim′ming, that which trims: ornamental parts, esp. of a garment, dish, &c.: (pl.) fittings.—adv. Trim′mingly.—n. Trim′ness. [A.S. trymian, to strengthen, set in order—trum, firm.]

Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms

  1. trim

    The difference in draft at the bow and stern of a vessel or the manner in which a vessel floats in the water based on the distribution of cargo, stores and ballast aboard the vessel. See also draft; watercraft.

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. trim

    The set of a ship on the water, whether by the head or the stern, or on an even keel. It is by the disposition of the ballast, cargo, masts, and other weight which she carries, that a vessel is best adapted for navigation. Also, the working or finishing of any piece of timber or plank to its proper shape or form.--In trim, is neat and regular.--To trim, is to arrange the sails so that they may receive the full advantage of the wind.

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. trim

    The chief town of the county of Meath, Ireland, on the Boyne, 27 miles northwest from Dublin. It was taken by Cromwell in 1649.

Suggested Resources

  1. TRIM

    What does TRIM stand for? -- Explore the various meanings for the TRIM acronym on the Abbreviations.com website.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. TRIM

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Trim is ranked #13474 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Trim surname appeared 2,258 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 1 would have the surname Trim.

    65.5% or 1,480 total occurrences were White.
    29% or 656 total occurrences were Black.
    1.9% or 44 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    1.9% or 43 total occurrences were of two or more races.
    1.1% or 25 total occurrences were Asian.
    0.4% or 10 total occurrences were American Indian or Alaskan Native.

How to pronounce trim?

How to say trim in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of trim in Chaldean Numerology is: 2

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of trim in Pythagorean Numerology is: 6

Examples of trim in a Sentence

  1. Omar Fall:

    We're also looking at them to reduce the scope of their European retail operations, preferably to zero, and to trim back the residual German retail operations.

  2. Kim Catechis:

    A stabilization of oil production would inject confidence in the company's prospects, as would the announcement of any new oil field discovery, if the company continues to demonstrate a willingness to trim its debt and the government doesn't deviate from its plan.

  3. Omar Fall:

    We’re also looking at them to reduce the scope of their European retail operations, preferably to zero, and to trim back the residual German retail operations.

  4. President Obama:

    This top down redistribution doesn't work. my job is not to trim my sails and not tell the American people what we should be doing, pretending somehow we don't need better roads, that we don't need more affordable college.

  5. Robert Bacarella:

    This is such an over-owned company and this gives them an excuse to say 'Maybe I'll trim some back because it adds a new question mark'.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for trim

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • zkrátit, zastřihnoutCzech
  • zurückschneiden, nachschneiden, Ausstattung, schmücken, Trimm, schlank, fit, Innenausstattung, stutzen, gepflegt, Segeltrimmung, kürzen, schneiden, VerkleidungGerman
  • ĉirkaŭhakiEsperanto
  • recortarSpanish
  • säätää, tasapaino, trimmi, viimeistely, varustelutaso, trimmata, leikata, tasoitus, trimmaus, koristella, tasapainottaaFinnish
  • assiette, taillerFrench
  • spuntata (capelli-barba-baffi), orientamento, bilanciare, tagliare, in forma, assetto (nave-aereo), decorareItalian
  • kaikauau, tautaMāori
  • cortar, decorar, podar, apararPortuguese
  • подстричь, сократить, обрезать, опрятныйRussian
  • trimningSwedish
  • yontmak, ayarlamak, süslemek, tıraş etmekTurkish

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"trim." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 27 May 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/trim>.

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