v. trimmed, trim·ming, trims
1. To make neat or tidy by clipping, smoothing, or pruning: trimmed his moustache; trimmed the hedges.
a. To remove the excess or unwanted parts from: trimmed the pie crust; trimmed the budget.
b. To remove (excess or unwanted parts): trimmed the rotten wood; trimmed the fat from the budget.
c. To lose (weight or fat) deliberately, as by exercise or dieting.
a. To decorate, especially by adding a border or contrasting element: trim a blouse.
b. To arrange with display items: trim a store window.
a. To thrash; beat.
b. To defeat soundly: trimmed their opponents in the first game.
c. To cheat out of money: trimmed him of every dollar he had.
d. To rebuke; scold.
a. To adjust (the sails and yards) so that they receive the wind properly.
b. To balance (a ship) by shifting its cargo or contents.
6. To balance (an aircraft) in flight by regulating the control surfaces and tabs.
a. To be in or retain equilibrium.
b. To make sails and yards ready for sailing.
a. To affect or maintain cautious neutrality.
b. To fashion one's views for momentary popularity or advantage.
3. To lose weight deliberately. Often used with down.
a. A cutting or clipping to make neat: My hair needs a trim.
b. An excess or unwanted part that has been removed: cut off the trim.
a. State of order, arrangement, or appearance; condition: in good trim.
b. A condition of good health or fitness: keeping her body in trim.
a. Exterior ornamentation, such as moldings or framework, on a building or vehicle.
b. Decoration or ornament, as for clothing.
c. Material used in commercial window displays.
4. often trims Excised or rejected material, such as film that has been cut in editing.
a. The readiness of a vessel for sailing with regard to ballast, sails, and yards.
b. The balance of a ship.
c. The difference between the draft at the bow and at the stern.
6. The balance of rotational forces around the various axes of an aircraft in flight.
adj. trim·mer, trim·mest
a. In good or neat order.
b. In good physical condition; fit; slim: a trim figure.
2. Having lines, edges, or forms of neat and pleasing simplicity.
In a trim manner.
[Middle English trimmen, to make firm, from Old English trymman, from trum, strong; see deru- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.