Green’s Dictionary of Slang

trim v.

[SE trim, to cut the hair, thus to ‘fleece’]

1. (also trim up) to beat, to trounce, to defeat.

[UK]Skelton Magnyfycence line 1345: To clothe the nakyd where is lackynge a smocke – Trymme at her tayle or a man can turne a socke.
[UK]Wife Lapped in Morrelles Skin in Hazlitt Early Popular Poetry IV line 717: For I will trim thee in thy geare, Or else I would I were cald a Sow.
[UK]R. Wever Lusty Juventus Diii: Tell me I pray you who it was And I wyll trim the knaue by the blessed mas.
[UK]T. Preston Cambyses E: Bum bay thou Hod, a little would make me ye trim. Giue thee a swap on thy nose till thy hart ake.
[UK]G. Whetstone Mirrour for Magestrates of Citties (2nd edn) J1: There is a natural malice generally impressed in the hearts of the gentlemen [...] they foorwith call him A trimme merchaunt.
[UK]Chapman May-Day III ii: I’faith, we shall trim him betwixt us.
[UK]Beaumont & Fletcher Wit Without Money IV i: You have been trim’d already.
[UK]T. Betterton Match in Newgate II i: I am sent to trim Mr. Dashit.
[UK]W. Toldervy Hist. of the Two Orphans IV 146: I chez trim this vellow I warrant ye myself. [Ibid.] IV 184: Sir, you deserve to be well trimmed, and were it not for the respect that I bear to you [...] I believe that I should put you to the cudgel fiercely!
[UK]Bridges Homer Travestie (1764) I 79: Thou com’st most apropo incog. / To see how I will trim this dog.
[UK]Bridges Burlesque Homer (3rd edn) 19: See how I will trim the dog.
[UK]J. Messink Choice of Harlequin II ix: With Parker and Rodney we’ll trim the mounseer; / We’ll tickle the Spaniard, and wing the mynheer.
[Ire]J. O’Keeffe Life’s Vagaries 40: She’ll trim his gay Lordship.
[UK]Derby Mercury 11 Aug. 4/1: A rank Tyrant in Heart, / From Paris set out in a Huff / And most solemnly swore / [...] / He’d trim the poor Englishman’s Buff.
[US]F. Hutcheson Barkeep Stories 176: ‘Oh, you had a battle wid a guy an’ he trimmed you, huh?’ [...] ‘I didn’t get no trimmin’ from nobody’.
[US]Ade Fables in Sl. (1902) 164: Then he would go around them, like a Cooper around a Barrel, and Trim them right and proper.
[US]Van Loan ‘Sporting Doctor’ Taking the Count 21: After I’ve trimmed up the bunch, Brooks and Brady won’t have a chance to give me the go-by.
[US]R. Lardner ‘Three Kings & a Pair’ in Gullible’s Travels 70: Archibald’s gang trimmed Veto’s in a big roughhouse one night.
A. Baer Says ‘Bugs’ Baer 19 Aug. [synd. col.] He was trimming an Englishman to an inch of his life insurance.
[US]J. Lait Put on the Spot 22: We trimmed him, didn’t we?
[US](con. 1946) G. Fowler Schnozzola 240: Do you want to get trimmed again? Do you want to get hurt?
[NZ]G. Slatter Gun in My Hand 44: I tried to trim him down but he did me over proper.
[US]T. Berger Sneaky People (1980) 67: I’ll trim your ass, is what I’ll do.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 111: I’ll trim the knots off you Promise of a thrashing; trim is an old word for thrashing.

2. (also trim up) in fig. (non-physical) senses; to defeat in competition.

[UK] G. Harvey Trimming of Thomas Nashe B: Come, sit downe, Ile trim you my selfe.
[US]S. Ford Shorty McCabe 201: Buddy had bet hot air against real money, and trimmed his man.
[US]F.P. Dunne Mr Dooley Says 94: Their art had ours thrimmed to a frazzle.
[US]Fr. Klaeber ‘A Word-List From Minnesota’ in DN IV:i 12: trim up, v. To defeat (in a game). ‘They trimmed up every team that came their way.’.
[US]Ade Hand-made Fables 285: He took on a Crip and trimmed him, getting one Hole in 8.
[US]S. Lewis Babbitt (1974) 311: My old dad [...] packed an awful wallop when it came to trimming the City Fellers at checkers.
[US]R. Lardner ‘Hurry Kane’ Coll. Short Stories (1941) 101: Olds was trimmed, but Carney and Kane both won.

3. to reprimand, to scold.

[UK]Tyndale Works ii 313 in Oliphant New Eng. I 431: The priests propose to trim Queen Katherine [F&H].
[UK]Sheridan Rivals (1776) II i: Soh! Sir Anthony trims my master.
[US]J. Dixon Free To Love 15: What’s this row, Kit? [...] Old man trimming you down?

4. to have sexual intercourse; thus trimming n.

[UK]T. Heywood Rape of Lucrece Let every man get him a love, To trim her well, and fight no more.
[UK]Dekker Match me in London I i: A Barber stood with her on Saturday night very late, when he had shau’d all his Customers, and as I thinke, came to trimme her.
[UK]Chapman May-Day IV iv: Some honest man’s wife of the parish, that steals abroad for a trimming, while he sits secure at home, little knowing, God knows, what hangs over his head.
[UK]Fletcher False One II iii: And she would be cool’d, Sir, let the Souldiers trim her.
[UK]Ford Love’s Sacrifice II i: Roar about the court that I have been your woman’s barber and trimmed ye.
[UK]T. Jordan Walks of Islington and Hogsdon I i: Drink off a brimmer, to he that doth [trim her].
[UK] ‘The Tinker’ in Farmer Merry Songs and Ballads (1897) I 144: Quoth she, our Cauldron hath most need / As it we will begin, / For it will hold you half an hour / To trim it out and in.
Crafty Barber of Debtford n.p.: He did please his Ladies fair and trimm’d them both so neatly, That she did wish to have a shave.
[UK] ‘Ballad of All the Trades’ in Playford Pills to Purge Melancholy II 62: O the Barber [...] He never goes to wash and shave / But he trims, but he trims, but he trims his Maiden first.
[UK] ‘The Thing’ in Farmer Merry Songs and Ballads (1897) II 124: The Parson well pleas’d Trims the Smoaking Sir Loin / And slyly leers at the Pudding.
[UK] in D’Urfey Pills to Purge Melancholy IV 62: The neat and nimble Barber ... never goes to Wash and Shave, But he trims ... his Maiden first.
[UK]Bridges Burlesque Homer (3rd edn) 377: Must atreus’ sons all wenches sieze, / And trim ’em where and where they please.
Rambler’s Mag. May 181/2: It was a just observation [...] that there were two things in Florence that could not be too much trimmed — a ship and an Italian woman.
[US]H. Rhodes Chosen Few (1966) 11: How come any of us can trim her any time we wanna?
[US]B. Jackson Thief’s Primer 110: I trimmed her three or four times as I remember and just had a ball.

5. to cheat of money or possessions; thus trimming n. and adj.

[UK]Dekker Newes from Graues-end (1925) 78: Thou wouldst neuer haue gone to any Barbers in London whilst thou had liude, but haue bin trimd only there, for they are the true shauers, and they haue the right Neapolitan polling.
[UK]J. Wilson Belphegor IV iii: A hate a trimming devil.
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Trimming c. Cheating people of their Money.
[UK]Humours of a Coffee-House 26 Dec. 79: Now hear how yours grated upon the Ears, Trimming Tom Double.
[UK]New Canting Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]‘Juggling Johnny’ in Blackwood’s Edin. Mag. 785: My nimming, trimming Johnny.
[US]C. Connors Bowery Life [ebook] Sum odder bloke wot ain't bin so lucky, or ain't worked so hard, will put up er job on him an’ trim him--yer know, rob him.
[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 222: Here was an old sucker ripe for trimming.
[US]J. Lait ‘Canada Kid’ in Beef, Iron and Wine (1917) 176: You what used to trim smart-Alec get-rich-quick guys an’ take the dicks what come after you. You’ve flopped a long way.
[US]N.Y. Trib. 25 Nov. 9/3: He also learned to gamble and became a ‘gandy dancer.’ A gandy dancer is a non-working inhabitant of railway construction camps who lives by an ability to ‘stack’ cards or ‘trim’ opponents with loaded dice.
[US]M.C. Sharpe Chicago May (1929) 25: There were women who ran dipping-houses in Custom House Place. They were like booths, into which you took your man. If you succeeded in getting him in, the landlady soon helped you trim him.
[US]W. Winchell On Broadway 9 Sept. [synd. col.] In the old days when they wanted to trim a sucker they sold him the Brooklyn Bridge.
[US]D. Maurer Big Con 15: He wanted to trim the millionaire rather than the store.
[US]J. Thompson ‘The Cellini Chalice’ in Fireworks (1988) 67: The sucker you’d trimmed was always the best sucker to trim again.
[UK]B. Hill Boss of Britain’s Underworld 61: I told her that the young reporter was [...] worth a stack. ‘You can trim him for his lot if you play your cards right’.
[US]C. Himes Rage in Harlem (1969) 44: She [...] done help them trim you.
[US]E. Bunker No Beast So Fierce 95: I keep up my candy and cigarette habit by trimming suckers playing poker.
[US]E. Bunker Little Boy Blue (1995) 77: After five passes, when they’d trimmed off two thousand, they walked away.
[UK]Guardian Rev. 3 July 10: All con men agree that it is next to impossible to trim a Chinese.

6. to explain.

[US]Gleason & Taber Is Zat So? I ii: Can you trim dat guy! I can’t never learn him nuttin!

In phrases

trim someone’s buff (v.) [SE trim, to clip + buff, bare skin]

to deflower a woman.

[UK]Bridges Burlesque Homer (3rd edn) 110: And he... has liberty to take and trim The buff of that bewitching brim [F&H].
[UK]Bridges Burlesque Homer (4th edn) I 122: Her swain / Who trimm’d her buff with might and main.
trim someone’s jacket (v.) (also swinge someone’s jacket) [cf. SE dress, array, to beat/swinge, to thrash]

to beat, to thrash someone.

[UK]H. Carey Dragon of Wantley III i: Come, Mr. Dragon, or by Jove I’ll fetch you; / I’ll trim your Rascals Jacket, if I catch you.
[UK]Smollett Roderick Random (1979) 9: None of your jaw, you swab [...] else I shall trim your laced jacket for you.
[UK]Bridges Homer Travestie (1764) I 103: Gods to thy assistance call, / And I will trim your jackets all.
[UK]Bridges Burlesque Homer (3rd edn) 157: He trimm’d their jackets ev’ry one.
[UK]‘Peter Pindar’ ‘Pathetic Odes’ Works (1794) III 410: Peter giveth a gentle trimming to the jackets of foreign Potentates.
[UK]Sporting Mag. Sept. XII 327/1: Our taylors would their jackets trim, our barbers bring their poles out, Sirs.
[UK]Sporting Mag. July XVI 197/1: I never yet have dress’d your hide; / [...] / I have not even trimm’d your jacket.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]R.B. Peake Americans Abroad I ii: I’ll go and tell your master, and he shall come and trim your jackets right well.
[US]‘Jack Downing’ Andrew Jackson 224: I’m determined [...] tu trim the jackets on ’em are Sinneters when they become cantankerous.
[US]County Paper (Oregon, MO) 15 Sept. 2/6: Such phrases as [...] trim one’s jacket [...] in a horn [...] that’s a whopper.
[UK]G.F. Northall Folk-Phrases of Four Counties 31: To trim one’s jacket = To thrash.
trim someone’s rim (v.) [assonance]

(US) to have anal intercourse.

[US]E. Torres Q&A 88: ‘Who’d want to trim your rim?’ Chapman asked. ‘Shit, are you kiddin’? Everywhere I go, there’s a faggeta [...] If I could score with the broads like I do with the queers, I’d be all right.’.
trim up (v.)

1. see sense 1 above.

2. see sense 2 above.