\ 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)

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective On Tuesday, tables were full of old photographs — some stained brown and curling at the edges — sitting in neat rows and drying out. Rick Childress, Washington Post, 3 Aug. 2022 All the power conferences operate in neat, even numbers and typically have expanded in multiples of twos. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 30 July 2022 What’s neat is they’re left in such vulnerable state missing their dad. Jordan Moreau, Variety, 16 July 2022 In a drawer, for example, spices will fit in neat little rows with or without an organizer to help. Mary Cornetta, Better Homes & Gardens, 7 July 2022 What would be neat — from an analyst’s point of view, anyway — is if the U.S. census asked about people’s religion. Andy Larsen, The Salt Lake Tribune, 18 June 2022 Normally, a call up of a top prospect to the big leagues is neat, but not really noteworthy in baseball circles. Mary Clarke, USA TODAY, 4 May 2022 If desired, use metal (oven-safe) clips to secure the parchment to the sides of pan for neat edges and to prevent the paper from flopping into the batter. Washington Post, 30 Nov. 2021 Angel’s Envy recommends sipping the 2021 Cask Strength Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Port Wine Barrels neat. Emily Price, Forbes, 28 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Late last year Toyota announced ambitious electrification plans for its lineup and showed off a cornucopia of neat-looking concept cars, from a low-slung Lexus supercar to a butch Toyota Tacoma–like pickup truck and an angular Toyota sports car. Caleb Miller, Car and Driver, 14 June 2022 See More

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.

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

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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Dictionary Entries Near neat



neat's-foot oil

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Last Updated

14 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Neat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for neat


\ 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on neat

Nglish: Translation of neat for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of neat for Arabic Speakers


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