From be- (prefix meaning ‘about; around’) +‎ trim.[1]



betrim (third-person singular simple present betrims, present participle betrimming, simple past and past participle betrimmed)

  1. (transitive, dated) To trim (decorate); to adorn, deck, or embellish.
    Synonyms: bedeck; see also Thesaurus:decorate
    • 1610–1611, William Shakespeare, “The Tempest”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act IV, scene i], page 14, column 2:
      Thy bankes with pioned, and twilled brims / Which ſpungie Aprill, at thy heſt betrims; / To make cold Nymphes chaſt crownes; []
    • 1648, Edw[ard] Symmons, “Sect. XXVIII. A Faithful and Ministeriall Admonition, to the Troubles of Our Israel: []”, in A Vindication of King Charles: Or, A Loyal Subject’s Duty. [], [London?: s.n.], OCLC 1206282503, page 280:
      [S]ome folke perhaps according to the forme by your ſelves preſcribed, doe ſometimes betrim you with ſuch ſtrange Titles, but are you ſo ſimple as to conceit that wiſe men do fancy them to belong unto you?
    • 1684, R[ichard] B[urton] [pseudonym; Nathaniel Crouch], “The Eighth Emblem Illustrated”, in Choice Emblems, Divine and Moral, Antient and Modern: Or, Delights for the Ingenious, in above Fifty Select Emblems, [], London: [] Edmund Parker, [], published 1729, OCLC 508089394, page 32:
      But when in honour'd Robes I ſee it put, / Betrim'd as if ſome thing of Worth it were, / Look big, and on the Stilts of Greatneſs ſtrut; / From ſcorning it I cannot then forbear.
    • [1715], Lew[is] Theobald, The Cave of Poverty, a Poem. [], London: [] Jonas Browne [], and sold by J. Roberts [], OCLC 520633755, stanza XXVI, page 11:
      I could not half the Pageant Ills o'ercall, / That garniſh and betrim the gloomy Wall.
    • 1736, [James] Thomson, The Prospect: Being the Fifth Part of Liberty. A Poem, London: [] A[ndrew] Millar, [], OCLC 10833525, lines 163–165, page 13:
      Mark! thoſe diſgraceful Piles of Wood and Stone; / Thoſe Parks and Gardens, where, his Haunts be-trimm'd, / And Nature by preſumptuous Art oppreſs'd, / The woodland Genius mourns.
    • 1840 April, “April. A Sonnet.”, in William E[vans] Burton, editor, Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine, and American Monthly Review, volume VI, Philadelphia, Pa.: William E. Burton, [], OCLC 2258790, page 160, column 1:
      Fair, fickle month, now peevish as a child / That frets in middle of the Pleasures' bowers; / Now winsome as a bride betrimmed with flowers, / Laughing like wit when exquisitely wild,— []
    • 1845, William Tennant, “Esther; or the Fall of Haman”, in Hebrew Dramas: Founded on Incidents of Bible-history, Edinburgh: John Menzies; London: D. Bogue, OCLC 49752568, Act III, scene iii, page 178:
      I must betrim myself to-day in all / My rarest ornaments of royalty; []
    • 1855 March 31, “Paris. (From Our Own Correspondent.)”, in The Musical World, volume XXXIII, number 13, London: Boosey and Sons, [], OCLC 751702494, page 196, column 1:
      [T]he spring has set in with more than usual severity, the famous horse-chestnut tree of the Tuileries is covered with snow in place of leaves, and spongy April, instead of betrimming our "banks with peonied and lilied brims" has nipped the too early blossoms, frozen the bubbling brooks, and produced a fourth course of cough, catarrh, and cold, which have seized old and young, rich and poor, in their relentless grasp.
    • 1879, Robert Mitchell, William of Normandy: A Play, in Five Acts. [], London: Effingham Wilson, [], OCLC 563576302, Act I, scene iii, page 14:
      Mine eyes do light on a more beauteous mark: / That lady clad in blue betrimmed with gold, / Whose fair skin shows the blue meandering veins.
    • 1914, Amanda M[innie] Douglas, “A Supreme Moment”, in The Girls at Mount Morris, Chicago, Ill.: M. A. Donohue & Co., OCLC 5058914, page 121:
      A beautiful, fine albatross cloth in itself appropriate, but betrimmed with pipings of satin and lace.
    • [1914?], “Ideas for Handkerchiefs”, in Flora Klickmann, editor, Victorian Fancy Stitchery: Techniques & Designs, Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications, published 2003, →ISBN, page 11:
      Now here are some new ideas for girls who like pretty handkerchiefs and yet do not care for those betrimmed with cheap lace and badly-done embroidery that are all too plentiful in the present day.

Derived termsEdit



  1. ^ betrim, v.”, in OED Online  , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, September 2018.