\ 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 approval had 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)

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Being there at Fenway Park, Randy thought that was pretty neat too. Chris Bieri, Anchorage Daily News, 20 Apr. 2022 The neat thing about using the drawer for this, instead of a Pelican case, is that the guns are able to remain totally out of sight, and secured by my locking tailgate. Wes Siler, Outside Online, 18 Apr. 2022 The neat thing about Ripple is that any currency — digital or otherwise — can be exchanged for another. Anneken Tappe, CNN, 22 Apr. 2021 It's been really neat to see that such terms as neurodiversity (and even the recognition of the fact that people think differently) is now part of our discussion. Heather Wishart-smith, Forbes, 25 Mar. 2022 The score is neat, transparent, and light on its feet. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, 20 Mar. 2022 And the neat way the flatscreen of the display fits perfectly with the contours of the chassis, is just lovely to behold. Yoni Heisler, BGR, 15 Mar. 2022 For a few traditional auto makers, splitting out hot assets could be a neat way to compete for capital with the likes of Tesla and Rivian. Stephen Wilmot, WSJ, 23 Dec. 2021 In one cove, lounge chairs stood in neat, colorful rows, but no one lay in them. Jenna Scatena, The Atlantic, 18 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

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

Learn More About neat

Time Traveler for neat

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near neat



neat's-foot oil

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Last Updated

22 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Neat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for neat


\ 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on neat

Nglish: Translation of neat for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of neat for Arabic Speakers


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