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

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Synonyms for neuter

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of neuter in a Sentence

Adjective The pronoun “it” is neuter. Verb She had her dog neutered by the veterinarian. The bill was neutered by the changes made by the legislature.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective His weather segments always ended with a reminder for people watching at home to spay or neuter their pets. cleveland, "Dick Goddard remembered for saving the lives of ‘hundreds of thousands’ of animals through his advocacy work," 4 Aug. 2020 The legendary weatherman, who passed away Tuesday at the age of 89, spent 55 years at WJW Channel 8, letting viewers know to expect sunshine, rain or snow -- sometimes all three in one day -- and reminding them to spay or neuter their pets. cleveland, "Dick Goddard remembered by colleagues in local TV news," 4 Aug. 2020 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 And not long after, the rescue partnered with LA/SPCA, PetSmart, Big Sky Ranch in Folsom and the Metairie Cat Hospital to spay and neuter stray and feral cats and work to find some of the more sociable ones new homes. Sarah Ravits,, "Star-crossed cats: A shy, cross-eyed kitten finds a forever home — and a soulmate," 14 Dec. 2020 At Fulton County Animal Services, Davis soon worked his way up to the position of community cat coordinator and began helping with the shelter’s trap, neuter and return project. Cathy Free, Washington Post, "The rapper turned cat man who is busting stereotypes with his love for felines," 7 Dec. 2020 Yet county governments were created to decentralize power and neuter personality cults. Westen K Shilaho, Quartz Africa, "Kenyans should reject the latest round of proposed constitutional changes," 7 Dec. 2020 Paws partners with Pet pals NE, and is working on a program called SNIP (spay neuter impact program) to help reduce the population of unwanted cats and kittens. Melanie Savage,, "Support Woodstock Paws Shelter by purchasing a Purrbox for the holidays," 7 Dec. 2020 Other supplies and services offered include referrals or vouchers for low-cost veterinarian care as well as spay and neuter surgeries for their pets. Brett Shweky,, "Peggy’s Pantry helps feed needy cats and dogs," 7 Dec. 2020 Davis, 40, started helping shelter employees with trap-neuter-return cases. NBC News, "How this rapper quit his music career to start a cat rescue," 29 Nov. 2020 Many of these services are income-based, and people may qualify for vouchers for dog training classes or spay and neuter procedures. Ayana Archie, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville charities fear COVID-19 will put chill on holiday giving. Here's how to help," 25 Nov. 2020 The county was forced to reduce operations at its low-cost spay-neuter mobile clinic in 2019 and discontinued it altogether after the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March. Kate Santich,, "Orange offers free spay-neuter services for pets of low-income residents," 3 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The level of access the hacker achieved was enough to neuter just about any defense. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "SolarWinds hackers have a clever way to bypass multi-factor authentication," 14 Dec. 2020 President Trump’s push to neuter Iran internationally became a defining focus of his foreign policy. Louisa Loveluck, Washington Post, "Iran reacts cautiously to Biden presidency as diplomatic window of opportunity appears," 8 Nov. 2020 Who has a defensive scheme to completely neuter his athleticism? Jeremy Cluff, The Arizona Republic, "Arizona Cardinals' Kyler Murray is already a Top 10 NFL player, ESPN's Max Kellerman says," 24 Sep. 2020 In his lobbying, Lemkin had to gut and neuter his original, more radical proposal. James Robins, The New Republic, "The Case for Calling Climate Change “Genocide”," 23 Sep. 2020 Hawkfish has been described as everything from the secret weapon to counter the powerful data operation of Trump’s digital guru Brad Parscale, to a stealth operation to neuter the increasingly progressive wing of the Democratic party. Steven Levy, Wired, "How Bloomberg's Digital Army Is Still Fighting for Democrats," 7 Aug. 2020 Contracts often stipulate that the buyer must spay and neuter their cat, and that no cat will end up in a shelter. Alexandra Marvar, Star Tribune, "Designer cat market is thriving with 'toygers' and other wild-looking kitties," 28 July 2020 The trend has continued into late June, with the civil unrest roiling American cities and concern about proposals to neuter local law enforcement, leading to record numbers of firearms purchases. David M. Drucker, Washington Examiner, "Gun sales soar as calls to defund police grow louder: Report," 25 June 2020 Kittens and cats that need to be medicated, spayed and neutered, that need to find homes for fostering and adoption. Los Angeles Times, "Column: Cocktails for Kittens — how Quinn Cummings stirred up a boozy lockdown fundraiser," 23 Apr. 2020

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for neuter

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for neuter

Cite this Entry

“Neuter.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for neuter


How to pronounce neuter (audio)

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

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