neu·​ter | \ ˈnü-tər How to pronounce neuter (audio) , ˈnyü-\

Definition of neuter

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : of, relating to, or constituting the gender that ordinarily includes most words or grammatical forms referring to things classed as neither masculine nor feminine
b : neither active nor passive : intransitive
2 : taking no side : neutral
3 : lacking or having imperfectly developed or nonfunctional generative organs



Definition of neuter (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : a noun, pronoun, adjective, or inflectional form or class of the neuter gender
b : the neuter gender
2 : one that is neutral
b : a spayed or castrated animal


neutered; neutering; neuters

Definition of neuter (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

2 : to remove the force or effectiveness of

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for neuter

Synonyms: Verb

alter, desex, fix

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of neuter in a Sentence


The pronoun “it” is neuter.


She had her dog neutered by the veterinarian. The bill was neutered by the changes made by the legislature.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Spay/neuter laws Mandatory spay/neuter laws are aimed to prevent animal overpopulation, and are often enacted at the local level. Ivana Hrynkiw,, "'You can't adopt your way out of this problem': GBHS CEO responds to 'No Kill' allegations," 27 Oct. 2017 The plan to neuter hurricanes involved a series of observations and deductions, with each step built upon the last. Sam Kean, The Atlantic, "The Chemist Who Thought He Could Harness Hurricanes," 5 Sep. 2017 On Feb. 19, Wheaton, founder of the Alicia Pet Care Center, will hold the fifth annual free spay and neuter day in memory of Ford Petersen, an employee who died Feb. 11, 2013, at age 21, from a congenital heart condition. Erika I. Ritchie, Orange County Register, "Vet holding free spay and neuter day," 14 Feb. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In wealthy cities across the Northeast and the Pacific Northwest, more people are seeking to house rescue animals, even as effective spay and neuter programs have caused the populations of these animals to drop in these areas, experts say. Rebecca Tan, Washington Post, "D.C.’s premier animal rescue league joins forces with New Jersey operation," 11 July 2019 Volunteers return to the disaster area for a three-week period annually to spay, neuter and vaccinate the stray population. Morgan Hines, USA TODAY, "Puppies and nuclear reactors: HBO series draws attention to stray dogs of Chernobyl," 18 June 2019 His adoption fee includes his neuter surgery, current vaccinations, a microchip and a free follow-up wellness exam with a VCA Animal Hospital. Arizona Republic, azcentral, "Sir Didymus and more pets up for adoption in Phoenix-area shelters this week," 14 June 2019 Meanwhile, Latin’s three genders (masculine, neuter and feminine) merged into two. The Economist, "Latin is dead—yet it also lives on," 8 June 2019 Adoption fee includes spay/neuter and up-to-date vaccinations. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Pet of the week for adoption in Encinitas," 6 June 2019 To that end, ACS officers and animal advocates promote spay and neuter programs. Vincent T. Davis, San Antonio Express-News, "Education, more tickets help ACS make headway on San Antonio’s roaming dog problem," 7 Jan. 2018 The Street Team includes someone to trap, neuter and release stray cats, and there are times when conditions warrant that the cat be brought back to Corridor Rescue’s shelter. Julie Cornell, Houston Chronicle, "Rescue groups help with stray pet population in northwest Harris County," 2 May 2018 Last year, the council authorized funding for a dedicated ACS officer in each council district, such as Officer Robert Lopez in District 4, and a new spay/neuter clinic was opened at Brooks City Base. Vincent T. Davis, San Antonio Express-News, "Education, more tickets help ACS make headway on San Antonio’s roaming dog problem," 7 Jan. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Luke is neutered, up to date on all shots, licensed with Maricopa County Animal Care and Control, microchipped, and has tested negative for heartworm. Arizona Republic, azcentral, "'One cool hound' and more up for adoption in Phoenix-area shelters this week," 28 June 2019 Restricting cities from stepping in Indeed, state lawmakers have effectively neutered local efforts to crack down on bad actors. Tony Cook, Indianapolis Star, "Renters lived 'horrible.' Their landlord lived large. The government helped him do it.," 26 June 2019 However, Gove effectively neutered this bid by announcing his own push for power. Alexander Smith, NBC News, "Boris Johnson's to lose: Race for next U.K. leader nears the endgame," 18 June 2019 The sequels neutered those charms, by offering them weaker material. Josh Spiegel, The Hollywood Reporter, "The Hidden Potential of 'Men in Black: International'," 15 June 2019 Koa, the aquarium’s other male, was recovering from neutering, a complicated operation, and confined to a large pool away from the public. Sallie Tisdale, Harper's magazine, "Catechism of the Waters," 10 June 2019 In the United States, there are 30 to 40 million stray or feral cats roaming outside and only about 2% of them have been spayed or neutered. Meghan Dunn, CNN, "Meet Instagram's Paul the Cat Guy," 20 June 2019 All animals available, will be vaccinated and spayed or neutered. Joy Sewing, Houston Chronicle, "Meet Joy, Frank and 500 animals ready for adopting at Best Friends Super Adoption this weekend," 18 June 2019 The shelter has an adoption fee of just $25, and all pets are vaccinated, have a Rabies vaccine, microchip and are spayed or neutered. Rebecca Hennes, Houston Chronicle, "Graphic: Fort Bend shelter inundated with shocking cases like Phoenix, a lab with chemical burns," 14 June 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of neuter


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1903, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for neuter


Middle English neutre, from Middle French & Latin; Middle French neutre, from Latin neuter, literally, neither, from ne- not + uter which of two — more at no, whether entry 2

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about neuter

Dictionary Entries near neuter







neutral axis

Statistics for neuter

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for neuter

The first known use of neuter was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for neuter



English Language Learners Definition of neuter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

grammar, in some languages : of or belonging to the class of words (called a gender) that ordinarily includes most of the words referring to things that are neither masculine nor feminine



English Language Learners Definition of neuter (Entry 2 of 2)

: to remove the sex organs from (an animal)
disapproving : to make (something) much less powerful or effective


neu·​ter | \ ˈnü-tər How to pronounce neuter (audio) , ˈnyü-\
neutered; neutering

Kids Definition of neuter

: to remove the sex glands and especially the testes from : castrate neuter a dog


neu·​ter | \ ˈn(y)üt-ər How to pronounce neuter (audio) \

Medical Definition of neuter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a spayed or castrated animal (as a cat)

Medical Definition of neuter (Entry 2 of 2)

: castrate sense 1, alter a neutered cat

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on neuter

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with neuter

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for neuter

Spanish Central: Translation of neuter

Nglish: Translation of neuter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of neuter for Arabic Speakers

Comments on neuter

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


an act or instance of editing or removing

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!