9

I have an old-fashioned image in my kitchen, probably America-in-the-50s style, with a drawing of a burger costing 50 cents and the following text:

Burgers with all the trimmings

I didn't know that the verb trim could be used in this way but, according to the dictionary, the word trimming actually means "an additional garnishing". So I suppose it refers to ketchup, mustard and probably also to bacon, lettuce, and tomato slices in this case.

The Merriam-Webster link above shows that the word is in the 30% bottom of words in popularity. So I'd like to know: does this word sound outdated today to the American English speakers? If so, when was it more used? And what could be a better word to use today with the same meaning?

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – tchrist Sep 8 '18 at 0:08
  • 2
    Possibly off topic, since the question asks about American usage, but in British English, "with all the trimmings" is widespread and is used about a meal that consists of a central feature, along with what are enjoyable, expected or traditional accompaniments, for example roast beef with roast potatoes (extra points if cooked in goose fat), carrots, parsnips, squash, sweet potatoes, peas, asparagus, broccoli spears, Yorkshire pudding, and gravy (extra points for being made with meat juices and wine). Not all of these at once. The first one and last two for sure with roast beef. – Michael Harvey Sep 8 '18 at 7:44
  • sign seen in greasy spoon diner in New York: "Turkey with all the tremens" – Cascabel Apr 11 at 16:11
17

You're probably referring to this sign

Delicious Burgers with all the trimmings 50c a good place to eat

I'd agree with Laurel in the answer already given that "all the trimmings" will be recognised in American English.

An alternative expression would be "all the fixings" or "all the fixin's"

A Google NGRAM search of the corpus of American English returned the following results

Google NGRAM all the trimmings, all the fixings and all the fixin's

The Online Etymology Dictionary says fixing is a

verbal noun from fix (v.). American English sense of "food, garnishing" is attested from 1839.

The Cracker Barrel, a US restaurant chain offers a Wholesome Fixin's menu

Now hungry restaurant-goers looking for their homestyle favorites at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® can find them plus a whole lot more. The new Wholesome Fixin’s menu category features 11 low calorie, better-for-you choices, with fresh ingredients and full-bodied flavor

TFD's definition for with all the fixin's (fixings) is:

Rur. with all the condiments or other dishes that accompany a certain kind of food.

  • For $12.99 you get a turkey dinner with all the fixings.

  • Max likes his hamburgers with all the fixin's.

I guess the "Rur." means that it's a rural expression? Probably used mainly in the South.

When you scroll down, you'll see that TFD also has a references in periodicals archive where you can find actual examples of usage such as:

Not so influenced by pop culture as the postmodernists, the stories in Drinking Coffee Elsewhere entertain on a familiar, almost nostalgic level--like Sunday dinner with all the fixin's at grandma's house.

TFD's definition for "with all the trimmings" is

with all the extra things, especially with food.

  • We had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings.

  • I look forward to roast turkey with all the trimmings.

Their references in periodicals archive for with all the trimmings returns results with UK and US English examples:

Offering up turkey with all the trimmings, plus the bonus of a Yorkshire pud, owners Les and Pam Hippolite charge just pounds 3.

Turkey with all the trimmings and extra courses available including mince pies.

Company Enables One Lucky San Francisco Bay Area Family to Get the Ultimate Thanksgiving Feast with All the Trimmings

Cost Plus World Market (NASDAQ:CPWM), a leading retailer of casual home living and entertaining products, unveils a hassle-free Thanksgiving sweepstakes where one San Francisco Bay Area winner will enjoy the ultimate meal with all the trimmings.

  • 5
    You can also say "burger with everything", right? – bof Sep 7 '18 at 11:08
  • 4
    Yep! "with everything" works for burgers. I don't think it would work for turkey or thanksgiving dinner though. – bookmanu Sep 7 '18 at 11:24
  • 1
    If that's the image, it looks like a contemporary picture made to look 'retro'. This wording is likely chosen as part of that goal. – JimmyJames Sep 7 '18 at 17:00
  • 6
    "Fixings" and especially "fixin's" sounds very rural/southern to me. I'm not sure I'd recommend someone to use it in a different environment. – Kat Sep 7 '18 at 17:35
  • 2
    (American English) One can also say, "with the works" to mean "With everything", "with all the trimmings", "with all the fixings", etc. "the works" is an idiom that can mean (among other things) the moving parts of a machine, as in the works of a clock. Ordering a "burger with the works" basically means don't leave any ingredients off of the hamburger, you want every condiment they offer on your burger. – geneSummons Sep 7 '18 at 20:23
9

Merriam Webster's popularity metric is based off searches. As I said elsewhere:

On words that are "trending right now", such as "culture", it just says "trending" and for "the" it says "top 1% of lookups".

This doesn't say much about whether people know the word or not, since if you know the definition you probably aren't going to look it up.

It's not very easy to reliably know if a word is going to be known by people. Usually what's looked at is word frequency. In general, the more the word is used, the more people know what it means. However, one big drawback of this is a lack of sorting: everything with that spelling is combined together no matter if it's what you're looking for or not.

In any case, here's what frequency band the Oxford English Dictionary puts "trimming(s)" in:

This word belongs in Frequency Band 4. Band 4 contains words which occur between 0.1 and 1.0 times per million words in typical modern English usage. Such words are marked by much greater specificity and a wider range of register, regionality, and subject domain than those found in bands 8-5. However, most words remain recognizable to English-speakers, and are likely be used unproblematically in fiction or journalism.

That's not specific to American English, however. I did a search for trimmings (must be all lowercase to make sure only plural results are returned) in the Corpus of Contemporary American English and it returned 1387 hits. The entire corpus contains 560 million words, so that's like ~2.5 occurrences per million words. (You can create a free account and repeat this yourself if you want.)

All in all, I'd say it will be recognized in American English.

  • Thank you very much for your answer, but what I really wanted to know is if the word trimmings sounds outdated to the American English speaker, and if so what could be a replacement for the word that does not sound outdated. I'll keep your advice about M-W's metrics nonetheless. :-) – Charlie Sep 7 '18 at 8:26
  • 4
    @Charlie, the corpus referenced in the penultimate paragraph contains texts from 1990 to 2017, so the word is unlikely to sound outdated to anyone over, say, 30 years old. I'm not sure that a specific corpus of millennials' speech exists. – Peter Taylor Sep 7 '18 at 12:17
  • 3
    @Charlie I can only give my personal opinion, but I'm a millennial and it doesn't sound outdated at all to me. – only_pro Sep 7 '18 at 15:21
  • @Charlie If a Christmas turkey “with all the trimmings” doesn’t sound dated — and it doesn’t, I promise — I can’t imagine why using the same phrase for hamburgers would be so. The trimmings are different, though. :) – tchrist Sep 8 '18 at 0:11
5

Typically (at least in American English) I'd think of a burger with 'all the trimmings' as 'all the way'. Your phrasing sounds a bit more...over-inflated for something like a hamburger, but it's still immediately evident what you mean. I've always experienced the phrase 'all the trimmings' as indicating a large amount of side dishes, such as 'a Thanksgiving turkey with all the trimmings' indicating that it's served with green beans, cranberry sauce, stuffing, etc.

The word 'loaded' also comes to mind, but it's generally used only to refer to baked potatoes.

  • For example Five Guys specifically has on their menu "All The Way" which includes a standard set of ingredients. I would have edited this answer to include a link, but I can't find one that isn't overflowing with ads or isn't their PDF menu. – Reginald Blue Sep 7 '18 at 15:08
  • 6
    As a native speaker of American (mid-Atlantic) English, I've never heard "all the way" used in relation to a burger. "Going all the way" connotes something entirely different... – Mike Harris Sep 7 '18 at 18:12
  • 1
    @MikeHarris - It may well be regional. My frame of reference is the southernmost states. – Brian R Sep 7 '18 at 18:20
  • 1
    "All the trimmings" sounds contemporary to me. I now live in the Pacific Northwest, and I frequently visit in the Southeast. Ruth Ann's, a traditional diner in Columbus, Georgia, offers "all the trimmings" on burgers and with the turkey dinner. – Theresa Sep 7 '18 at 20:25
  • "All the way" is sex. But it is also used in food and drink. – Lambie Sep 7 '18 at 21:13
-2

A quick googling returns this as the very first entry: "Beef trimmings are pieces of meat remaining after steaks, roasts, and other cuts are removed. Beef trimmings are very often used to make ground beef," which is the usage I encountered IRL. Definitely not an outdated word for anyone who cooks, not just defrosts a factory-prepared lunch.

  • 4
    Beef trimmings is used in the context of meat cutting/butchery and does not apply to prepared meals. ] – barbecue Sep 7 '18 at 17:21
  • @barbecue I like pho with rare steak, flank, tripe and tendon. The latter three look like trimmings to me, in my prepared soup. I am sure the 1950s ad tries to play both the actual content of the patties (with beef trimmings) as well as to say that these burgers has lots of fancy embellishments ("bells and whistles"). – Rusty Core Sep 7 '18 at 17:40
  • 3
    I guarantee you that nobody is thinking of tendons and tripe when they talk about a burger with all the trimmings. – barbecue Sep 7 '18 at 17:56
  • @RustyCore Yeah, pho (Vietnamese), I make it myself by cooking the bone for four hours....with all the trimmings: cilantro, bean sprouts, and ngoc mam. There is no rare steak in it. You can put slivers of steak in the hot soup to cook them, though, if there's not much meat on the broth bone. – Lambie Sep 7 '18 at 21:16

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.