\ 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)

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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 Like others interviewed, Lopez-Paul was taken aback by the number of children, mostly from Guatemala and Honduras, kept in one massive gray hall of the convention center, their metal cots in neat rows. Dianne Solis, Dallas News, "Worries rising about depression and other issues among migrant teens in Dallas emergency shelter," 5 May 2021 With only auxiliary lighting washing over skeletons of beam work and neat rows of chairs, and no musical act to draw my eye to the stage, the Anthem was a geometric feast. Ben Eisendrath, Washington Post, "Frozen in silence: A look inside D.C.’s still shuttered music venues," 4 May 2021 Dozens even lashed themselves together in neat rows, seeking shelter, it was claimed, from storms that never came. New York Times, "With Swarms of Ships, Beijing Tightens Its Grip on South China Sea," 3 Apr. 2021 Be especially wary of closets, and try some closet organization ideas for a neat and tidy space. Blair Donovan, Country Living, "Learn How to Get Rid of Mice from Your Home with These Tips," 20 Apr. 2021 This often means wearing loose jeans, neat and presentable -- and far more comfortable, casual and forgiving than skinny jeans. Kara Alaimo, CNN, "These are the jeans women REALLY need," 20 Apr. 2021 The neat and clean minimalist design has no cables and includes a chassis that gives the impression that the vinyl is floating on air above the loudspeaker cabinet. Mark Sparrow, Forbes, "La Boite Concept LX Blends Beautiful Handcrafted Furniture With Cutting-Edge Audio Technology," 19 Apr. 2021 Ready to hold anything from diapers to wipes, this stand will look neat and tidy on the side of your changing station. Southern Living, "15 Essential Organizers for Every Area of Your Nursery," 10 Apr. 2021 The application form must be neat and legible, and filled out completely., "Community news for the Glastonbury edition," 9 Apr. 2021

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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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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Statistics for neat

Last Updated

10 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Neat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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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

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

Nglish: Translation of neat for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of neat for Arabic Speakers

Comments on neat

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