Main definitions of neat in English

: neat1neat2

neat1

adjective

  • 1Arranged in a tidy way; in good order.

    ‘the books had been stacked up in neat piles’
    • ‘As he began shuffling his papers so they were neat and organized, whispers began to fly around the class.’
    • ‘The sergeant counted the money onto the kitchen table, note by note, arranging it in neat piles.’
    • ‘It was just how I left it, neat and tidy; everything was in perfect order.’
    • ‘Everything about the room was neat and orderly.’
    • ‘"Over the years the residents have made a great effort to keep the estate very neat and tidy.’
    • ‘We travel down from Newcastle and Durban twice a year in order to keep the graves neat and tidy.’
    • ‘The place is neat and tidy with not a weed in sight.’
    • ‘Zack opened the door to his room and Ana looked around, he kept everything so neat.’
    • ‘The village was neat, with tidy little houses, arranged along three roads leading out from this castle.’
    • ‘Many thanks to everyone who came out to help keep all areas around the river so neat and tidy.’
    • ‘In fact, salt crystals are formed by the very neat and orderly arrangement of alternating sodium and chloride ions.’
    • ‘A key feature of the farm is the farmhouse and farmyard which is well laid out and always maintained in a very neat and tidy fashion.’
    • ‘Megan laughed, " Ya know, you should thank me for keeping my locker so neat.’
    • ‘"Wow, your room is so neat, " Hannah said.’
    • ‘There were three chairs arranged in a neat semi-circle, with a coffee table in the center.’
    • ‘And when the City asked them to leave the sidewalk outside, they asked for an extra allotment of time, in order to be able to leave the site as neat and tidy as they found it.’
    • ‘In Mexico, the tops of the wooden posts are cut off at the same level, creating very neat and tidy fences.’
    • ‘Several long and narrow tables were arranged in neat rows, teachers scouting the premises between them.’
    • ‘Shirt upon shirt, all stacked in neat piles - had they been ironed?’
    • ‘Choosing one, he stepped inside a little room almost militarily neat, and masculine in aura.’
    • ‘She absent-mindedly made a neat pile of the scattered magazines on the coffee table.’
    tidy, neat and tidy, as neat as a new pin, orderly, well ordered, in order, in good order, well kept, shipshape, shipshape and bristol fashion, in apple-pie order, immaculate, spick and span, uncluttered, straight, trim, spruce
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    1. 1.1 (of a person) habitually tidy, smart, or well organized.
      ‘her daughter was always neat and clean’
      • ‘There were clothes everywhere and that was unusual seeing as she was a very neat person.’
      • ‘I can get my daughter to clean her room by setting up comparison/competition images with her neat friend, Amanda.’
      • ‘Or again, he was an amazingly neat gardener, one might almost say a perfectionist.’
      • ‘I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn't care who knew it.’
      • ‘He was neat and dapper when I saw him in 1995 in Kansas City, where he was filming the movie of that name.’
      • ‘Now, yes, he's neat and clean, but I don't think that's a fault.’
      • ‘Obsessively neat people should not consider owning companion birds.’
      • ‘But I know many children of less than neat parents who rebel by aggressively keeping house.’
      • ‘She's neat, organised, intelligent, motivated, good natured and talented across all arenas.’
      • ‘But unless you're particularly neat and tidy, they can soon end up rolling around the floor, or getting sat on by a passenger.’
      • ‘She's neat, serious and always over-prepared; he's a jokey slob who flies by the seat of his rumpled pants.’
      • ‘I an a very neat person, and I don't want you to see my place in a state.’
      • ‘And doesn't such an organized and neat man deserve to be indicted just for making us all look bad?’
      • ‘Aberdeen gave the ball away far too often to be able to mount any sustained pressure, whilst the visitors were neat and tidy in their play.’
      • ‘There is nothing wrong with being a slob until you start complaining all the time that you wish you were neat and organized.’
      • ‘Madge herself is immaculate - a tiny, neat woman whom grief has made two-dimensional.’
      • ‘Maybe she was just a neat person, and it was a summer assignment, and she wanted everything to be organized, so she had tucked it away.’
      • ‘Not to say that we weren't neat and polite at the table.’
      • ‘Walking down the aisle, looking impeccably neat in his uniform was Bob.’
      • ‘He was extremely neat and tidy around the place and took a gentle pride in maintaining the place so well.’
      smart, spruce, dapper, trim, well groomed, well turned out, besuited
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    2. 1.2 Having a pleasing appearance; well formed.
      ‘Alan noted down the orders in his neat, precise script’
      • ‘The center console is neat and simple, stressing a less-is-more minimalism.’
      • ‘I recognized my mothers abnormally neat handwriting at once and I began to read.’
      • ‘She wore a simple, neat white robe with blue trim and sleeves so broad they looked like wings.’
      • ‘However, for gardeners who prefer rather more order in their garden, this type of cotoneaster is perfect for training into a neat fan shape.’
      • ‘These wooden storage drawers provide a neat appearance and are more functional than an entry table.’
      • ‘There, scrawled in Dylan's somehow neat handwriting, is a single word.’
      • ‘It suggested a forger might have selected a relatively smooth area of the back as a place to carve the small, neat characters.’
      • ‘Simple and neat choreography seemed to be Sushmita's motto for the jatis and the dancers executed her vision with clarity.’
      • ‘Ancient runes were patterned in neat, flowing script, words that had not been read in many years.’
      • ‘He has finally, it seems, sorted out his blog format, and everything looks fabulously neat and tidy.’
      • ‘The other two were written in the same neat script.’
      • ‘She is in her early twenties, but serious, tiny, and very neat in appearance.’
      • ‘The quality of the photography is complemented by a simple, neat site design which does an exemplary job of displaying the collection cleanly and quickly.’
      • ‘"Real men don't have hair that neat, " one radio journalist said.’
      • ‘This autumn the emphasis is on neat, elegant tailoring and waist-cinched silhouettes.’
      • ‘Woven garments, such as shirts and trousers, should be folded along their natural creases to maintain a neat appearance.’
      • ‘I picked up my little card. ‘Miss Amber Sutton’ it said in neat, cursive silver letters.’
      • ‘The Virgo style is neat, discreet, simple, conservative and under-stated.’
      • ‘Val was a good lawman but not exactly noted for his neat appearance nor his generosity with his money.’
      • ‘The words " For Cecil " were written in extremely neat handwriting on it.’
      • ‘Look out for a pair of neat black or grey flannel trousers or a pencil or A-line skirt.’
      • ‘This will give the neat, crisp, appearance that the standard combat uniform is expected to have.’
      • ‘Not only did these materials present a neat appearance, but their flexibility allowed them to be used around curvilinear and geometric beds.’
      well formed, regular, precise, crisp, clean-cut, elegant, well proportioned, simple, unadorned, unornamented
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  • 2Done with or demonstrating skill or efficiency.

    ‘a neat bit of deduction’
    • ‘So a neat solution is to put an inexpensive hard drive into the printer to receive the print job and keep these large files off the network.’
    • ‘The economist who raised the subject has found a neat solution to all these problems.’
    • ‘If you're determined to see both of those realities as a problem, you can turn to science to provide you with what you'll probably consider a relatively neat solution to the first.’
    • ‘Admittedly, it is a rather neat effect to use, but not when it appears on nearly every track.’
    • ‘This one is as neat a demonstration of the Arthurian cycle as any book in the Clarke canon, and as stimulating.’
    • ‘The sampling trick is very neat, and does appear magical even after you see the proof.’
    • ‘It's a neat bit of arithmetic - one beach for each day of the year - but has anyone actually counted them?’
    • ‘Now if that seems like a pretty neat trick, be warned.’
    • ‘I thought it was a neat bit of conscious self-reference.’
    • ‘Perhaps there is some neat technical solution, though as yet that doesn't seem to be the case.’
    • ‘This was a neat bit of satire, making the impossibility of the situation immediately obvious.’
    • ‘‘It is a very neat, environmentally-friendly solution,’ says Dr Reeder.’
    • ‘The look was relaxed, and the illusion hemlines, also achieved with stripes and shiny fabrics, were a neat way to make clothes appear longer.’
    • ‘Justin made a neat recovery and with agile steps, he circled the demon, wrapping the silver thread around its throat.’
    • ‘The Government came up, through the ministry, with a very neat solution.’
    • ‘All in all, it was a neat move: In order to teach us to value our imaginations, he always let us know what was imaginary and what was not.’
    • ‘Some common-sense solutions, and neat statistics, are found within the paper.’
    • ‘Calderon, an attacking midfielder, displayed some neat touches and demonstrated a willingness to run at defenders.’
    • ‘At the moment we don't have a neat solution to the problem and it really is stretching staff and eroding morale.’
    • ‘But that's a pretty neat trick to pull that off, two different girls.’
    • ‘I'm sure that I could never have written such a neat bit of syntactical plotting.’
    • ‘Folding them together was a pretty neat trick, and it has been done without a wrinkle or seam showing.’
    skilful, deft, dexterous, adroit, adept, expert, practised, accurate, precise, nimble, agile, graceful, stylish
    clever, ingenious, inventive, resourceful, good, apt, efficient
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    1. 2.1 Tending to disregard specifics for the sake of convenience; facile.
      ‘this neat division does not take into account a host of associated factors’
      • ‘We prefer to live in a neat moral universe, and so we simplify, even to ourselves.’
      • ‘You seem to have moved from a neat engineer's view of the world to a view which accepts and celebrates the complexity out there.’
      • ‘This reveals the fact that the issues that apply to pre-contact cultures cannot be defined into any neat and efficient concept or word.’
      • ‘Despite a very beautiful closing shot, the ending was rather conventional and perhaps too neat - the family was reunited and harmony restored.’
      • ‘Perhaps this is a subtle statement on the unglamorous reality of commercialised sex, but the witty script resists such neat categorisations.’
      • ‘With regard to gender, these associations meant that they appeared to resist neat definitions.’
      • ‘As we can see now, musical evolution doesn't conform conveniently to neat historical divisions of style and chronology; boundaries are regularly blurred.’
      • ‘That's a problem, since Kerry does not conveniently fit into any neat political cubbyhole.’
      • ‘He instilled in me a desire for clarity, but also a suspicion of neat solutions because, he felt, posing problems was more interesting than solving them.’
      • ‘There's no honour and no nice neat solution in pretending otherwise.’
      • ‘The authors also note that the public perception of crime appears to have ‘no neat relationship’ with the crime rate.’
      • ‘This is a problem that does not lend itself to neat political solutions, for all the righteous indignation inspired by rogue companies like Enron.’
      • ‘Like most three-part sermons, Delbanco's division is a bit too neat.’
      • ‘This historical framework keeps things pretty clear, although its neat divisions, both chronological and thematic are more imagined than real.’
      • ‘He measures pain and capacity to suffer in neat units and disregards old-fangled notions such as species or emotion.’
      • ‘It's not necessarily all that neat and simple, is it?’
      • ‘The medieval holy wars in the Middle East could not be solved by rational treatises or neat territorial solutions.’
      • ‘No doubt there's some truth to that, but it looks too neat.’
      • ‘But just because the Jungian interpretation is neat & tidy and easy to swallow, doesn't necessarily mean it's accurate.’
      • ‘The book does not offer easy answers or neat endings.’
  • 3(of liquid, especially spirits) not diluted or mixed with anything else.

    ‘he drank neat Scotch’
    • ‘Put five drops of the neat oil on a dry, cold compress and cover the burn.’
    • ‘Put a few drops of neat tea tree oil in a bowl of hot water, stick a towel over your head and breathe deeply for a few minutes.’
    • ‘Among tequila connoisseurs, the best anejo tequilas rank with the finest cognacs and are often consumed neat from a snifter.’
    • ‘He also points to a fondness for strong drink taken neat; whisky and vodka rather than English ale or Irish stout.’
    • ‘The young lad behind the bar poured him half a pint of neat whiskey!’
    • ‘These kids are not just drinking little cans of beer - they are drinking bottles of vodka, neat.’
    • ‘It was 7pm and the night was still young, yet the three people sitting next to me were so keen to get their evening started that they were already each drinking from their own litre bottle of neat vodka.’
    • ‘Drink them neat or drink them with lots of water.’
    • ‘And I followed that with a large shot of neat single malt whisky.’
    • ‘But when it comes to adult conversation and emotional and practical support, emailing two old friends is like drinking lemonade when what you really need is a neat whisky.’
    • ‘Sponge the woolly bits with neat washing-up liquid, suggests a reader who says her father used to deal with greenfly on his roses in this way.’
    • ‘To relieve the irritation of an insect bite itch, apply neat apple cider vinegar to the itchy spot, or add 500 ml of apple cider vinegar to a warm bath and soak in it.’
    • ‘We'd still end up drinking neat vodka and dancing on the table at four in the morning, but I couldn't shake off the suspicion that they had moved off towards adulthood without me.’
    • ‘Lace half a bottle of neat spirits with a powerful horse laxative and leave it in the glove box or a prominent place in your home.’
    • ‘Next week - Tara parachutes into a Siberian bear-trappers get-together, joining them all for a quick drink of three pints of neat vodka.’
    • ‘The Raki is like Ouzo or Ricard (try it neat as well as with water) and goes well with the food.’
    • ‘This is where Dylan Thomas drank 18 neat whiskies, his last.’
    • ‘And you could never drink it neat unless you wanted to burn a hole in the lining of your stomach.’
    • ‘So after you serve a Martini or Scotch, neat, return moments later with a glass of water.’
    • ‘For persistent cases, paint with neat lavender oil.’
    • ‘Try some of these - but drink them neat.’
    • ‘The meal is a full Russian spread, and in between the different courses shots of neat vodka are served.’
    undiluted, straight, unmixed, unadulterated, unblended, pure, uncut
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  • 4North American informal Very good; excellent.

    ‘it was really neat seeing the city’
    • ‘Then realize that there are lots of other really neat guys out there, and someday you might love one of them instead.’
    • ‘I thought all the neat people lived inside the internet.’
    • ‘Everyone was kind of reeling at the neologism but for me it sounded neat.’
    • ‘One of the really neat things about conventional wisdom is that sometimes it's true.’
    • ‘But don't take that to mean that I'm busy all the time - I'm keen as ever to see as many neat people as possible.’
    • ‘"I know, but I thought it would sound neat, " Moe mumbled.’
    • ‘She is a neat lady and I feel lucky to have her as a friend.’
    • ‘They're both really neat people - I'm pleased to have made a connection there, and I hope we keep in touch.’
    • ‘What a great skill to have and what a neat idea that it's been revived!’
    • ‘There are lots of little shops that have really neat stuff in them.’
    • ‘But it is kind of neat to see how my style had developed over time!’
    • ‘How fortunate we are to be in the center of the exciting geometric growth of this new industry, with such neat people sharing the experience.’
    • ‘Incidentally, the Donna Summer homepage is really neat, albeit horrendously designed.’
    • ‘I think Wink is a very cool place and our technology is really neat.’
    • ‘Yet, it's neat to see if I can try to pick up any Japanese.’
    • ‘And you know what is neat, Lou, so far it appears to be working.’
    • ‘My mother and Lindsey have this really neat relationship.’
    • ‘And I know, lots of neat people meet on dating services.’
    • ‘So, I invited this really neat guy whom I've been dating for the past three months.’
    excellent, very good, superb, outstanding, magnificent, of high quality, of the highest quality, of the highest standard, exceptional, marvellous, wonderful, sublime, perfect, eminent, pre-eminent, matchless, peerless, supreme, first-rate, first-class, superior, superlative, splendid, admirable, worthy, sterling, fine
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Origin

Late 15th century (in the sense ‘clean, free from impurities’): from French net, from Latin nitidus ‘shining’, from nitere ‘to shine’; related to net. The sense ‘bright’ (now obsolete) was recorded in English in the late 16th century.

Pronunciation

neat

/niːt/

Main definitions of neat in English

: neat1neat2

neat2

noun

archaic
  • 1A bovine animal.

    • ‘I had a pretty dinner for them, viz. a brace of stewed carp, six roast chickens and a jowl of hot salmon for the first course; a tanzy and two neats' tongues and cheese second.’
    • ‘"as proper a man as ever trod upon neat's leather" [Julius Caesar, Scene 1]’
    1. 1.1mass noun Cattle.

Origin

Old English, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch noot, also to the base of dialect nait meaning ‘companion’.

Pronunciation

neat

/niːt/