He keeps his apartment neat and clean.
The store is always busy but they manage to keep the shelves stocked and neat.
a nice neat pile of magazines
Fold the paper to make a neat edge.
a neat man who always wore a suit
He's got a neat way of memorizing information.
There is, unfortunately, no neat solution to the problem.
She's a neat person who has traveled a lot. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Coffee pods are an essential part of most caffeine-lovers mornings and this storage pot is the perfect way to keep them neat and organized.—Samantha Booth, Rolling Stone, 24 Nov. 2023 There’s a reason for this: Diana really did like to wear the classic French manicure–as so many women did back in the ’90s, the decade in which the combination of a neat white tip and sheer pink base became so popular.—Hannah Coates, Vogue, 22 Nov. 2023 The spry 89-year-old is otherwise sharply attired, from her neat trouser suit to the amber beads around her neck.—Danielle Demetriou, Condé Nast Traveler, 21 Nov. 2023 Besides enjoying it neat or over some ice, recommended serves include using it in a play on a Manhattan by swapping out the whiskey, or a version of an Old Fashioned made with agave nectar and bitters.—Jonah Flicker, Robb Report, 17 Nov. 2023 The set itself is fun to construct—with neat additions like a police dog, walkie-talkie, security camera, and donut (of course!)—but the endless ways to play here make this set a steal for under $100.—Sarah Bradley, Parents, 16 Nov. 2023 These organizational picks will keep your jewelry safe, neat, and tidy.—Kristen (kj) Callihan, Better Homes & Gardens, 13 Nov. 2023 All those neat lines on carpet — visible proof of cleanliness — can in fact feel quite rewarding.—Laura Daily, Washington Post, 6 Nov. 2023 This elegant furniture piece boasts adjustable shelves, offering a neat and sophisticated storage solution for your footwear.—Theresa Johnson, Rolling Stone, 15 Nov. 2023
This lot also includes a neat-looking one-button joystick and several cassettes, including what appears to be a Star Wars game.—Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, 24 Mar. 2023 Al on the microphone is a quality Scotch, poured neat.—Jason Gay, WSJ, 14 Sep. 2022 Late last year Toyota announced ambitious electrification plans for its lineup and showed off a cornucopia of neat-looking concept cars, from a low-slung Lexus supercar to a butch Toyota Tacoma–like pickup truck and an angular Toyota sports car.—Caleb Miller, Car and Driver, 14 June 2022 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'neat.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
Adjective and Adverb
Middle French net, from Latin nitidus bright, neat, from nitēre to shine; probably akin to Middle Irish níam luster
Middle English neet, from Old English nēat; akin to Old High German nōz head of cattle, Old English nēotan to make use of, Lithuanian nauda use
from earlier neat "bright, shining," from early French net (same meaning), from Latin nitidus (same meaning), from nitēre "to shine" — related to netentry 3
Today a popular use of the word neat is to mean "fine, splendid." It is a use that does not appear to have much in common with earlier meanings of the word such as "tidy" or "undiluted." But in its newest sense of "splendid," something that is "neat" might be thought of as a brilliant or shining example of the best of its kind. And this idea is very close to the origin of the word. Neat first began to be used in English about 400 years ago. It was borrowed from the early French word net, which in turn was taken from Latin nitidus, meaning "bright, shining." At first neat was used in English with the same meaning, as in "a neat new metal pin." This original sense in time fell out of use. But the idea of something bright and clean and sparkling and new gave us other meanings. One of these is the sense of "tidy," as in "a neat room or desk." Perhaps the idea of something clean also gave rise to the sense of neat meaning "not mixed or diluted" with anything. The idea of "tidy" certainly must have been the basis of the sense of "marked by tasteful simplicity." And since all of these senses suggest something that is viewed as ideal, it is easy to understand that they should lead to the newest sense of neat, meaning "splendid." When first used in English, splendid also meant "shining," coming from a Latin verb meaning "to shine."