from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To make neat or tidy by clipping, smoothing, or pruning: trimmed his moustache.
  • transitive v. To remove (excess) by cutting: trim a budget.
  • transitive v. To remove the excess from by or as if by cutting: trimmed off the rotten wood.
  • transitive v. To ornament; decorate.
  • transitive v. Informal To thrash; beat.
  • transitive v. Informal To defeat soundly.
  • transitive v. Informal To cheat.
  • transitive v. Informal To rebuke; scold.
  • transitive v. Nautical To adjust (the sails and yards) so that they receive the wind properly.
  • transitive v. Nautical To balance (a ship) by shifting its cargo or contents.
  • transitive v. To balance (an aircraft) in flight by regulating the control surfaces and tabs.
  • transitive v. To furnish or equip.
  • intransitive v. Nautical To be in or retain equilibrium.
  • intransitive v. Nautical To make sails and yards ready for sailing.
  • intransitive v. To affect or maintain cautious neutrality.
  • intransitive v. To fashion one's views for momentary popularity or advantage.
  • n. State of order, arrangement, or appearance; condition: in good trim.
  • n. A condition of good health or fitness.
  • n. Exterior ornamentation, such as moldings or framework, on a building or vehicle.
  • n. Decoration or ornament, as for clothing.
  • n. Material used in commercial window displays.
  • n. Dress or equipment.
  • n. Excised or rejected material, such as film that has been cut in editing. Often used in the plural.
  • n. Personal quality; character.
  • n. A cutting or clipping to make neat: My hair needs a trim.
  • n. Nautical The readiness of a vessel for sailing with regard to ballast, sails, and yards.
  • n. Nautical The balance of a ship.
  • n. Nautical The difference between the draft at the bow and at the stern.
  • n. The position of an aircraft relative to its horizontal axis.
  • adj. In good or neat order.
  • adj. In good physical condition; fit; slim.
  • adj. Having lines, edges, or forms of neat and pleasing simplicity. See Synonyms at neat1.
  • adv. In a trim manner.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. to reduce slightly; to cut; especially, to remove excess; e.g. 'trim a hedge', 'trim a beard'.
  • v. to decorate or adorn; especially, to decorate a Christmas tree
  • v. 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).
  • v. To modify the angle of a vessel's sails relative to the wind, especially to set the sails to the most advantageous angle.
  • n. decoration; especially, decoration placed along edges or borders
  • n. a haircut, especially a moderate one to touch up an existing style
  • n. the manner in which something is equipped or adorned; especially, of a car
  • n. sexual intercourse
  • n. 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
  • n. The arrangement of the sails with reference to the wind.
  • adj. physically fit
  • adj. slender, lean; as a trim figure
  • adj. neat or smart in appearance; as a trim lawn
  • adv. In good order, properly managed or maintained.
  • adv. With sails well trimmed.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Fitly adjusted; being in good order., or made ready for service or use; firm; compact; snug; neat; fair
  • n. Dress; gear; ornaments.
  • n. Order; disposition; condition.
  • n. The state of a ship or her cargo, ballast, masts, etc., by which she is well prepared for sailing.
  • n. 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.
  • intransitive v. To balance; to fluctuate between parties, so as to appear to favor each.
  • transitive v. To make trim; to put in due order for any purpose; to make right, neat, or pleasing; to adjust.
  • transitive v. To dress; to decorate; to adorn; to invest; to embellish.
  • transitive v. To make ready or right by cutting or shortening; to clip or lop; to curtail.
  • transitive v. To dress, as timber; to make smooth.
  • transitive v.
  • transitive v. 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.
  • transitive v. To arrange in due order for sailing.
  • transitive v. To rebuke; to reprove; also, to beat.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In electricity, to replace the burned-out carbons or electrodes of (an arclamp) by new ones.
  • To be in a given condition of trim
  • Firm; strong.
  • In good order or condition; properly disposed, equipped, or qualified; good; excellent; fine: often used ironically.
  • Neat; spruce; smart.
  • In a trim manner; trimly.
  • To set in order; put in order; adjust; regulate; dispose.
  • Nautical, to adjust or balance, as a ship or boat, by distributing the weight of the lading so equally that it shall sit well on the water.
  • To fit out; equip; furnish, especially with clothes; hence, to dress; deck: sometimes with up or forth.
  • Specifically, to embellish with ornaments; decorate, as with ribbons, fringe, etc.
  • To reduce to a neat or orderly state, as by clipping, paring, pruning, lopping, or otherwise removing superfluous or disfiguring parts.
  • To cut off in the process of bookbinding: said of the ragged edges of paper or the bolts of book-sections.
  • To remove by clipping, pruning, or paring; lop or cut: with off or away: as, to trim off shoots from a hedge.
  • In carpentry, to dress, as timber: make smooth; fit.
  • To rebuke; reprove sharply; also, to beat; thrash: sometimes indelicately applied to a woman. Compare untrimmed, 2.
  • To spend or waste in trimming: with away. See II.
  • Synonyms To arrange.
  • 3 and To adorn, garnish, array, trick out.
  • To keep an even balance; hold a middle course or position, especially in a contest between parties, so as to seem to incline to neither, or to both alike: from the nautical meaning. See I., 2.
  • n. The difference in draft at the bow of a vessel from that at the stern.
  • n. Adjustment; order; condition; arrangement.
  • n. Nautical, the state of a ship, or of her cargo, ballast, spars, etc., with reference to her fitness for sailing.
  • n. Mode of appearance or equipment; guise; garb; especially, the becoming or prescribed mode of dress, ornament, etc.; the fashion; full dress; of a ship, full sail.
  • n. Dress; trapping; ornament.
  • n. Nature; character; sort; stamp.
  • n. In carpentry, the visible woodwork or finish of a house, as the base-boards, door- and window-casings, etc.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. adjust (sails on a ship) so that the wind is optimally used
  • v. cut closely
  • adj. thin and fit
  • v. cut down on; make a reduction in
  • adj. severely simple in line or design
  • n. attitude of an aircraft in flight when allowed to take its own orientation
  • adj. of places; characterized by order and neatness; free from disorder
  • v. cultivate, tend, and cut back the growth of
  • n. cutting down to the desired size or shape
  • v. balance in flight by regulating the control surfaces
  • adj. neat and smart in appearance
  • v. be in equilibrium during a flight
  • v. decorate (food), as with parsley or other ornamental foods
  • v. remove the edges from and cut down to the desired size
  • n. a decoration or adornment on a garment
  • v. decorate, as with ornaments
  • n. a state of arrangement or appearance


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English trimmen, to make firm, from Old English trymman, from trum, strong; see deru- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English trymman


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  • Contronymic in the sense: add to (as a Christmas tree) vs. remove.

    January 31, 2007