View synonyms for trim


[ trim ]

verb (used with object)

, trimmed, trim·ming.
  1. to put into a neat or orderly condition by clipping, paring, pruning, etc.:

    to trim a hedge.

    Synonyms: lop, cut, shave, shear

  2. to remove (something superfluous or dispensable) by or as if by cutting (often followed by off ):

    to trim off loose threads from a ragged edge.

  3. to cut down, as to required size or shape:

    trim a budget; trim a piece of wood.

  4. Aeronautics. to level off (an airship or airplane) in flight.
  5. Nautical.
    1. to distribute the load of (a ship) so that it sits well in the water.
    2. to stow or arrange, as cargo.
    3. to adjust (the sails or yards) with reference to the direction of the wind and the course of the ship.
  6. to decorate or adorn with ornaments or embellishments:

    to trim a dress with fur.

    Synonyms: garnish, embellish, ornament, bedeck, deck

  7. to arrange goods in (a store window, showcase, etc.) as a display.
  8. to prepare or adjust (a lamp, fire, etc.) for proper burning.
  9. Informal.
    1. to rebuke or reprove.
    2. to beat or thrash.
    3. to defeat.
  10. to dress or array (often followed by up ).

verb (used without object)

, trimmed, trim·ming.
  1. Nautical.
    1. to assume a particular position or trim in the water, as a vessel.
    2. to adjust the sails or yards with reference to the direction of the wind and the course of the ship.
  2. to pursue a neutral or cautious policy between parties.
  3. to accommodate one's views to the prevailing opinion for reasons of expediency.


  1. the condition, order, or fitness of a person or thing for action, work, use, etc.
  2. Nautical.
    1. the set of a ship in the water, especially the most advantageous one.
    2. the condition of a ship with reference to its fitness for sailing.
    3. the adjustment of sails, rigging, etc., with reference to wind direction and the course of the ship.
    4. the condition of a submarine as regards buoyancy.
  3. a person's dress, adornment, or appearance.
  4. material used for decoration or embellishment; decorative trimming.

    Synonyms: garnish, adornment

  5. decoration of a store window for the display of merchandise; window dressing.
  6. a trimming by cutting, clipping, or the like.
  7. a haircut that restores the previous cut to neatness without changing the hairstyle.
  8. something that is cut off or eliminated.
  9. Aeronautics. the attitude of an airplane with respect to all three axes, at which balance occurs in forward flight under no controls.
  10. Building Trades. finished woodwork or the like used to decorate or border openings or wall surfaces, as cornices, baseboards, or moldings.
  11. Automotive.
    1. the upholstery, knobs, handles, and other equipment inside a motor car.
    2. ornamentation on the exterior of an automobile, especially in metal or a contrasting color.


, trim·mer, trim·mest.
  1. pleasingly neat or smart in appearance:

    trim lawns.

    Synonyms: spruce, trig, compact

  2. in good condition or order.
  3. (of a person) in excellent physical condition:

    Swimming is a good way to keep trim.

  4. slim; lean.
  5. Obsolete. good, excellent, or fine.


  1. trimly.



/ trɪm /


  1. neat and spruce in appearance
  2. slim; slender
  3. in good condition


  1. to put in good order, esp by cutting or pruning
  2. to shape and finish (timber)
  3. to adorn or decorate
  4. sometimes foll byoff or away to cut so as to remove

    to trim off a branch

  5. to cut down to the desired size or shape

    to trim material to a pattern

  6. dialect.
    to decorate

    to trim a Christmas tree

  7. nautical
    1. also intr to adjust the balance of (a vessel) or (of a vessel) to maintain an even balance, by distribution of ballast, cargo, etc
    2. also intr to adjust (a vessel's sails) to take advantage of the wind
    3. to stow (cargo)
  8. to balance (an aircraft) before flight by adjusting the position of the load or in flight by the use of trim tabs, fuel transfer, etc
  9. also intr to modify (one's opinions, etc) to suit opposing factions or for expediency
  10. informal.
    to thrash or beat
  11. informal.
    to rebuke
  12. obsolete.
    to furnish or equip


  1. a decoration or adornment
  2. the upholstery and decorative facings, as on the door panels, of a car's interior
  3. proper order or fitness; good shape

    in trim

  4. a haircut that neatens but does not alter the existing hairstyle
  5. nautical
    1. the general set and appearance of a vessel
    2. the difference between the draught of a vessel at the bow and at the stern
    3. the fitness of a vessel
    4. the position of a vessel's sails relative to the wind
    5. the relative buoyancy of a submarine
  6. dress or equipment
  7. window-dressing
  8. the attitude of an aircraft in flight when the pilot allows the main control surfaces to take up their own positions
  9. films a section of shot cut out during editing
  10. material that is trimmed off
  11. decorative mouldings, such as architraves, picture rails, etc



/ trɪm /


  1. the county town of Meath, Republic of Ireland; 12th-century castle, medieval cathedral; textiles and machinery. Pop: 5894 (2002)
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Derived Forms

  • ˈtrimly, adverb
  • ˈtrimness, noun
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Other Words From

  • trimly adverb
  • trimness noun
  • over·trim verb overtrimmed overtrimming
  • pre·trim verb pretrimmed pretrimming
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Word History and Origins

Origin of trim1

First recorded before 900; probably continuing Old English trymman, trymian “to strengthen, prepare” (not recorded in ME), derivative of trum “strong, active”; akin to Irish dron “strong,” Greek drȳmós “coppice,” Latin dūrus “hard”; tree
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Word History and Origins

Origin of trim1

Old English trymman to strengthen; related to trum strong, Old Irish druma tree, Russian drom thicket
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Idioms and Phrases

  1. trim one's sails. sail ( def 19 ).
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Example Sentences

In the real world, you’d be able to appreciate the silver paint and orange wheels and trim.

You’ll have to trim a bit off the edges, but a 36-by-24-inch frame will give you the best results.

You can easily do an eight-inch cross cut at 90 degrees and cut lumber, hardwoods, trim, and more without much effort.

“It’s easy to hire people but hard to trim the fat,” the exec said.

From Digiday

The state held SDG&E responsible because it failed to trim back the tree.

His flesh is sagging a bit, but he is still trim and looks lean, sinewy and tough.

Fold over the edges and crimp, then trim any remaining excess.

So the following year dozens of Santas, in full red and white trim, boarded a plane to Portland.

Rubenstein turned 65 in August, and he appears as trim and energetic as when he pulled all-nighters in the Carter White House.

An older and firmly round fellow with a trim beard leaned his head back and fought off tears.

Very trim and strong, and confident he looked, with the glow of youth in his cheeks, and the spark of happiness in his gray eyes.

A trim maid then brought in the tea equipage, and Georgie did the honours with her usual unaffected grace.

Then we mounted and took to the trail again, stripped down to fighting-trim, unhampered by a pack-horse.

The sense, in the present passage, is evidently 'to trim,' with reference to the eyebrows.

He scarcely dares glance at the trim ankle which she shows as she holds her dress out of the mud.


Related Words

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.