\ ˈnēt How to pronounce neat (audio) \
neater; neatest

Definition of neat

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : free from dirt and disorder : habitually clean and orderly kept her room neat
2a : marked by skill or ingenuity : adroit a neat trick
b : precise, systematic mathematics … retains the neat exactness of the surgeon's knife— Bertrand Russell
3 informal : very pleasant, fun, or enjoyable : wonderful, excellent used as a generalized term of enthusiastic approvalhad a neat time!What a neat idea!We met some neat people at the party.
4a : free from admixture or dilution (see dilute entry 1 sense 3) : straight neat brandy neat cement
b : free from irregularity : smooth neat silk
5 : marked by tasteful simplicity a neat outfit
6 : net neat profit



Definition of neat (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : in a neat manner his hair combed back neat— J. M. Cain
2 : without admixture or dilution : straight


plural neat or neats

Definition of neat (Entry 3 of 3)

: the common domestic bovine (Bos taurus)

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Other Words from neat


neatly adverb
neatness noun

Examples of neat in a Sentence

Adjective 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective New York Islanders: Long Islanders take pride in having their peninsula featured as a map backdrop in the logo, which is a neat quirk. Vincent Z. Mercogliano, USA TODAY, "NHL jersey power rankings: Original Six teams have sweaters that are tough to beat," 21 May 2020 The Chronicle and Los Angeles Times have embarked on a neat project, with readers selecting the greatest major-leaguers from NorCal and SoCal then pitting them in the APBA simulation game. Henry Schulman, SFChronicle.com, "Giants Splash: MLB should resume in 2021 after resolving business issues," 13 May 2020 Expect to see students and art lovers scanning the neat piles for hard-to-come-by titles. Mary Holland, Condé Nast Traveler, "Why Colonia Cuauhtémoc Is Our New Favorite Neighborhood in Mexico City," 13 May 2020 Also, one other neat feat about this floor: all the pennies are face up! Kelly Corbett, House Beautiful, "This Woman Decorated Her Floor With 7,500 Pennies," 7 May 2020 Cornrowing was doable, although my plaits weren't nearly neat enough to wear outside. Fedora Abu, refinery29.com, "How Quarantine Finally Encouraged Me To Love My Afro," 5 May 2020 Five lunch specials sit in neat paper bags on the bar awaiting takeout customers — a tiny fraction of his normal midday business before the coronavirus. Time, "Europe's Employment Aid Keeps Jobs From Vanishing — for Now," 30 Apr. 2020 But there have been some great tributes and neat stuff that has been going on. Kyle Neddenriep, Indianapolis Star, "Too early to ask? No. There's 'significant concern' Indiana high school football at risk.," 29 Apr. 2020 Luisa Neubauer, a German activist, shared a photograph from outside the Bundestag, the federal parliament, with protest signs laid on the ground in a neat formation. Akshat Rathi, Bloomberg.com, "Forced Inside, Climate Activists Are Making Noise From Their Living Rooms," 24 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'neat.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of neat


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 5


circa 1578, in the meaning defined at sense 1


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for neat

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

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Time Traveler for neat

Time Traveler

The first known use of neat was before the 12th century

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Statistics for neat

Last Updated

27 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Neat.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/neat. Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for neat

How to pronounce neat (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of neat

: not messy : clean and orderly
: liking to keep things very clean and orderly
: simple and clever
\ ˈnēt How to pronounce neat (audio) \
neater; neatest

Kids Definition of neat

1 : showing care and a concern for order a neat room
2 : skillful in a fascinating or entertaining way a neat trick

Other Words from neat

neatly adverb
neatness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for neat

neat, tidy, and trim mean showing care and a concern for order. neat is used when something is clean in addition to being orderly. Your clothes should always be neat. tidy is used for something that is continually kept orderly and neat. I work hard to keep my room tidy. trim is used when something is orderly and compact. They live in trim, comfortable houses.

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More from Merriam-Webster on neat

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for neat

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with neat

Spanish Central: Translation of neat

Nglish: Translation of neat for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of neat for Arabic Speakers

Comments on neat

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