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From Middle English trimen, trymen, trümen, from Old English trymman (to make firm; strengthen), from Proto-Germanic *trumjaną (to make fast; strengthen), from Proto-Germanic *trumaz (firm; strong; sound).


  • IPA(key): /tɹɪm/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪm


trim (third-person singular simple present trims, present participle trimming, simple past and past participle trimmed)

  1. (transitive) To reduce slightly; to cut; especially, to remove excess. The adposition of can be used in the present perfect tense to designate the removed part.
    He trimmed his beard before the interview.
    The hedge needs to be trimmed.
    Place the screen material in the frame, secure it in place, and trim the edges.
    The company trimmed jobs for the second time this year.
    A ranch steak is usually trimmed of all excess fat.
    (present perfect example)
  2. (transitive) To decorate or adorn; especially of a Christmas tree.
    • (Can we date this quote?) John Milton
      A rotten building newly trimmed over.
    • (Can we date this quote?) William Shakespeare
      I was trimmed in Julia's gown.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 1, in The China Governess[1]:
      The half-dozen pieces […] were painted white and carved with festoons of flowers, birds and cupids. […]  The bed was the most extravagant piece.  Its graceful cane halftester rose high towards the cornice and was so festooned in carved white wood that the effect was positively insecure, as if the great couch were trimmed with icing sugar.
    They traditionally trim the tree on Christmas Eve.
  3. (transitive, aviation, of an aircraft) To adjust pitch using trim tabs.
  4. (transitive, nautical, of a vessel) To modify the angle relative to the water by shifting cargo or ballast; to adjust for sailing; to assume, or cause to assume a certain position, or trim, in the water.
  5. (transitive, nautical, of a vessel's sails) To modify the angle (of the sails) relative to the wind, especially to set them at the most advantageous angle.
  6. (dated) To balance; to fluctuate between parties, so as to appear to favour each.
  7. (transitive) To make trim; to put in due order for any purpose; to make right, neat, or pleasing; to adjust.
  8. (transitive, carpentry, of timber) To dress; to make smooth.
  9. (transitive, dated) To rebuke; to reprove; also, to beat.


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


trim (plural trims)

  1. (uncountable) Decoration; especially, decoration placed along edges or borders.
    Paint the house white with blue trim.
  2. (countable) A haircut, especially a moderate one to touch up an existing style.
    I went to the hairdresser for a trim but came back nearly bald.
  3. Dress; gear; ornaments.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Sir Walter Scott
      seeing him just pass the window in his woodland trim
  4. (countable) The manner in which something is equipped or adorned; order; disposition.
    The car comes in three different trims.
    to be in good trim
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Chapman to this entry?)
  5. (uncountable, slang, mildly vulgar) Sexual intercourse.
    • 1969, Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, New York: Bantam, 1971, Chapter 35, pp. 239-240,[2]
      “Take me somewhere.”
      His response lacked dignity, but in fairness to him I admit that I had left him little chance to be suave.
      He asked, “You mean, you’re going to give me some trim?”
  6. (nautical) 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.
  7. (nautical) The arrangement of the sails with reference to the wind.



trim (comparative trimmer, superlative trimmest)

  1. Physically fit.
    He goes jogging every day to keep in trim.
  2. Slender, lean.
    a trim figure
  3. Neat or smart in appearance.
    a trim lawn
    • 1599, William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing, Act 4 Scene 1
      [] manhood is melted into curtsies, valour into compliment, and men are only turned into tongue, and trim ones too: he is now as valiant as Hercules that only tells a lie and swears it.
    • 1907, Robert William Chambers, chapter IX, in The Younger Set, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, OCLC 24962326:
      “A tight little craft,” was Austin’s invariable comment on the matron; and she looked it, always trim and trig and smooth of surface like a converted yacht cleared for action. ¶ Near her wandered her husband, orientally bland, invariably affable, [].



trim (not comparable)

  1. (nautical) In good order, properly managed or maintained.
  2. (nautical) With sails well trimmed.

Usage notesEdit

  • More often used in combinations, eg, "trim-sailed".



Alternative formsEdit


From Proto-Albanian *trim-, from Proto-Indo-European *ter- (soft, weak, young). Cognate with Sanskrit तरुण (táruṇa, young) and Armenian թարմ (tʿarm, young, fresh).[2] Alternatively from Proto-Indo-European *trem(s)- (to thump; to tremble). Compare Latin tremō (tremble), Lithuanian trìmti (shake, tremble), Tocharian A tröm (in rage, fury) and Tocharian B tremi (rage, fury).[3]


trim m (indefinite plural trima, definite singular trimi, definite plural trimat) [4]

  1. man, manful
  2. hero
  3. courageous
  4. valiant, valorous
  5. brave, hardy


  1. ^ Trajm in Google Search.
  2. ^ Albanische Etymologien (Untersuchungen zum albanischen Erbwortschatz), Bardhyl Demiraj, Leiden Studies in Indo-European 7; Amsterdam - Atlanta 1997
  3. ^ “Indogermanisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch”, J. Pokorny, 1959, Bern Francke, p. 1092
  4. ^ Dictionnaire Français-Albanais / Fjalor Shqip-Frengjisht, page 608, Vedat Kokona, Tiranë, 2002, →ISBN





  1. first-person singular present indicative of trimmen
  2. imperative of trimmen




  1. dative plural masculine form of trīs
  2. instrumental plural masculine form of trīs
  3. dative plural feminine form of trīs
  4. instrumental plural feminine form of trīs