neither

1 of 4

conjunction

nei·​ther ˈnē-t͟hər How to pronounce neither (audio)
also
ˈnī- How to pronounce neither (audio)
1
: not either
neither black nor white
2
: also not
neither did I
Is it neither nor or neither or?: Usage Guide

Although use with or is neither archaic nor wrong, neither is usually followed by nor. A few commentators think that neither must be limited in reference to two, but reference to more than two has been quite common for several hundred years.

rigid enforcement of antique decorum will help neither language, literature, nor literati James Sledd

neither

2 of 4

pronoun

: not the one or the other of two or more
Does neither take a singular or plural verb?: Usage Guide

Some commentators insist that neither must be used with a singular verb. It generally is, but especially when a prepositional phrase intervenes between it and the verb, a plural verb is quite common.

neither of those ideal solutions are in sight C. P. Snow

neither

3 of 4

adjective

: not either
neither hand

neither

4 of 4

adverb

1
chiefly dialectal : either
2
: similarly not : also not
just as the serf was not permitted to leave the land, so neither was his offspring G. G. Coulton

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you pronounce neither?

Neither has two acceptable pronunciations. Its first syllable can sound like knee or like nigh.

Is it 'neither is' or 'neither are'?

Neither is usually used with a singular verb, as in "Neither one is here." But sometimes, especially when a prepositional phrase with a plural in it comes between neither and the verb, a plural verb is used, as in "Neither of those are going to work."

Does neither mean "two"?

Neither is most often an adjective meaning "not one or the other of two people or things."

Example Sentences

Pronoun “Which one do you want?” “Neither, thanks.” Neither of them dances well. There are two flashlights, neither of which works. Adjective “Which answer is correct?” “Neither one.”
Recent Examples on the Web
Conjunction
Neither this Denver attorney nor Gaia’s Garden has returned a request for comment. Emma Gannon, The Cannabist, 9 May 2017 Neither the communications director nor the CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, which spends more than $20 million per year promoting wind power, would comment on the rural opposition to wind turbines. Robert Bryce, Twin Cities, 11 Apr. 2017 Neither the PUC nor the Legislature has a clear path to step in and amend the agreement in a way that would protect ratepayers from an IRS ruling. Mercury News Editorial Board, The Mercury News, 9 Feb. 2017
Adverb
Cordesman warns that Afghanistan’s overall economic decline didn’t begin with the Taliban’s return to power, and neither did the country’s reliance on foreign aid. Brent Swails, CNN, 15 Aug. 2022 And neither did other Chicago police detectives involved in the case. Chicago Tribune, 29 Sep. 2022 Just as emotional awareness never moves in a straight line, neither do the plots of these fantastically upsetting books. Catherine Lacey, The Atlantic, 19 Sep. 2022 Teslas are neither cheap nor easy to get these days, but the Model Y is still finding its way into lots of American driveways. Joey Capparella, Car and Driver, 7 Apr. 2022 But Keshi stresses his tattoos are neither all for others' enjoyment nor a mesmerizing marketing ploy of sorts. Devon Abelman, Allure, 25 Mar. 2022 In other words, only beneficiaries that could receive amounts in trust that are neither contingent upon, nor delayed until, the death of another trust beneficiary (Tier I Beneficiaries) must be taken into account. Alan Gassman, Forbes, 18 Mar. 2022 It’s a weird miss, too, because Samsung has been including UWB in its phones but hasn’t yet done much to take advantage of that radio (and neither, it should be said, has Apple). Dieter Bohn, The Verge, 14 Jan. 2021 The law firm that represents the city did not respond, and neither did two former police chiefs. Tim Stelloh, NBC News, 6 Aug. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'neither.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Conjunction, Pronoun, Adjective, and Adverb

Middle English, alteration (influenced by either) of nauther, nother, from Old English nāhwæther, nōther, from nā, nō not + hwæther which of two, whether

First Known Use

Conjunction

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Pronoun

13th century, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Adverb

1551, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of neither was in the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near neither

Cite this Entry

“Neither.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/neither. Accessed 2 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

neither 1 of 3

pronoun

nei·​ther ˈnē-t͟hər How to pronounce neither (audio)
also
ˈnī- How to pronounce neither (audio)
: not the one and not the other
neither of the two

neither

2 of 3

conjunction

1
: both not : equally not
neither black nor white
2
: also not
neither did I

neither

3 of 3

adjective

: not either
neither hand

More from Merriam-Webster on neither

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