trim one's sails

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Related to trim sails: sail close to the wind, sailed through, trim sails to the wind

trim (one's) sails

1. To adapt oneself to new or altered circumstances. Following the attack, many politicians trimmed their sails and adopted a more aggressive stance on military action.
2. To spend less money; to decrease one's expenses. Our rent is much higher, so we've had to trim our sails a bit, but we love living in this area.
See also: sail, trim

trim one's sails

Modify one's stand, adapt to circumstances, as in His advisers told him to trim his sails before he alienated voters and bungled the election completely . This metaphoric expression alludes to adjusting a ship's sails to take full advantage of prevailing winds. [Late 1700s]
See also: sail, trim
References in periodicals archive ?
While some of us relaxed over a drink from the bar and nibbled on fresh fruit, others seized the chance to try their hand at being sailors, helping the captain and crew to trim sails or take the helm.
The agility to climb the rigging in raging storms, trim sails and undertake other dangerous tasks, was essential.
Aware of the strength and direction of the wind, an experienced sailor knows how to trim sails and adjust the centerboard in order to progress in the intended direction.
Trimmer Tahira Al Yahyaee was forced to surrender her place on board Team Al Thuraya Bank Muscat due to an injury, so Niall Myant, Oman Sail's keelboat coach, will stand in while Ibtisam Al Salmi, Raiya Al Habsi and Asrar Al Ajmi will work the bow and trim sails, with British sailor Liz Rushall calling tactics.
While businesses everywhere trim sails and cut costs in the face of the economic downturn, the BBC continues to suck in money like a vacuum, and demand more.