\ ˈnēt How to pronounce neat (audio) \
plural neat or neats

Definition of neat

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: the common domestic bovine (Bos taurus)



Definition of neat (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : free from dirt and disorder : habitually clean and orderly kept her room neat
2a : free from admixture or dilution (see dilute entry 1 sense 3) : straight neat brandy neat cement
b : free from irregularity : smooth neat silk
3 : marked by tasteful simplicity a neat outfit
4a : precise, systematic mathematics … retains the neat exactness of the surgeon's knife— Bertrand Russell
b : marked by skill or ingenuity : adroit a neat trick
5 : net neat profit
6 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.



Definition of neat (Entry 3 of 3)

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

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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.

Examples of neat in a Sentence


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

George had thought those movies were too neat, too rote. Emma Cline, The New Yorker, "Son of Friedman," 24 June 2019 The seats in eye-catching blue, purple or orange might be lined up in neat rows, or rearranged in a circle for face-to-face discussion. NBC News, "Wobbly chairs and rolling desks: Schools are rethinking classroom design to encourage creativity," 22 June 2019 The royal is known for wearing invisible hair nets to keep her buns taught and neat, and also kick-started the hair bow trend. Harper's Bazaar Staff, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kate Middleton Wore The Most Intricate Updo And We Totally Missed It," 19 June 2019 Çatalhöyük is prized not only for revealing how people lived in its warren of neat, tidy, plastered houses, but also for its longevity, as the eastern mound was inhabited for as many as 1,500 years. National Geographic, "This Stone Age settlement took humanity's first steps toward city life," 26 Mar. 2019 But for a variety of reasons, some medical/scientific, some sociological and others political, neat distinctions between reason and feelings have broken down. R.c., The Economist, "The political nausea when feelings replace facts," 21 June 2019 There’s no cute, downloadable template, no prepping of ingredients in neat little containers. Stephanie Ganz, Bon Appétit, "How I Conquer Existential Dread By Meal Planning for My Family," 19 June 2019 But what about when problems don’t fit into that neat framework? James Sutton, National Review, "The California Housing Crisis and the Problem with Local Control," 19 June 2019 Henry Anguyo, in a neat plaid button-down, presides from a plastic chair next to a shack on the side of a long dirt road. Nina Strochlic, National Geographic, "In Uganda, a unique urban experiment is under way," 17 June 2019

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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3


circa 1578, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for neat


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

Adjective and Adverb

Middle French net, from Latin nitidus bright, neat, from nitēre to shine; probably akin to Middle Irish níam luster

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Statistics for neat

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Time Traveler for neat

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

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More Definitions for neat



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

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More from Merriam-Webster on neat

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with neat

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for neat

Spanish Central: Translation of neat

Nglish: Translation of neat for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of neat for Arabic Speakers

Comments on neat

What made you want to look up neat? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


characterized by aphorism

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