- trim (v.)
- mid-15c., probably from Old English trymian, trymman "strengthen, fortify, confirm; comfort; incite; set in order, arrange, prepare, make ready; become strong," from trum "strong, stable," from Proto-Germanic *trum-, from PIE *dru-mo-, suffixed form of *deru- "to be firm, solid, steadfast" (see true). Examples in Middle English are wanting.
Original sense is preserved in nautical phrase in fighting trim (see trim (n.)); where the verb meant "distribute the load of a ship so she floats on an even keel" (1570s). Meaning "make neat by cutting" is first recorded 1520s; that of "decorate, adorn" is from 1540s. Sense of "reduce" is attested from 1966.
- trim (n.)
- "state of being prepared," 1580s, nautical jargon, "fit for sailing," from trim (v.). From 1570s as "ornament, decoration;" the meaning "visible woodwork of a house" is recorded from 1884; sense of "ornamental additions to an automobile" is from 1922. Slang meaning "a woman regarded as a sex object" is attested from 1955, American English.
- trim (adj.)
- c.1500, "neatly or smartly dressed," probably ultimately from trim (v.) or from related Old English trum "firm, fixed, secure, strong, sound, vigorous, active." Related: Trimly; trimness.