Definition of neither in English:


pronoun & determiner

  • Not the one nor the other of two people or things; not either.

    [as determiner] ‘neither side of the brain is dominant over the other’
    [as pronoun] ‘neither of us believes it’


  • 1Used before the first of two (or occasionally more) alternatives (the others being introduced by ‘nor’) to indicate that they are each untrue or each does not happen.

    ‘I am neither a liberal nor a conservative’
  • 2Used to introduce a further negative statement.

    ‘he didn't remember, and neither did I’


1 The use of neither with another negative, as in I don't like him neither or he's not much good at reading neither is recorded from the 16th century onwards, but is not good English. This is because it is an example of a double negative, which, though standard in some other languages such as Spanish and found in many dialects of English, is not acceptable in standard English. In the sentences above, either should be used instead. For more information, see double negative 2 When neither is followed by nor, it is important in good English style that the two halves of the structure mirror each other: she saw herself as neither wife nor mother rather than she neither saw herself as wife nor mother. For more details, see either


  • neither here nor there

    • Of no importance or relevance.

      • ‘But to a big-time publisher it is neither here nor there.’
      • ‘Damp feelings of quiet dread are neither here nor there.’
      • ‘Viewed in this light, the fact that the parties to Acton stipulated that the bargain should be confidential is neither here nor there as to its relevance.’
      • ‘The fact that if that's their best argument, they don't really have one is neither here nor there in the long run; the end result is that it helps their cause.’
      • ‘The fact is these players have fallen afoul of the system; which club they play for is neither here nor there.’
      • ‘However unappealing, this outbreak of boasting is probably neither here nor there to the individuals whose agonies initially provoked it.’
      • ‘But that's all insider mumbo-jumbo which is really neither here nor there.’
      • ‘But temperament in and of itself is neither here nor there.’
      • ‘Misspelled my name, by the way, but that's neither here nor there.’
      • ‘Whether I believed it or not is neither here nor there.’
      inconsequential, insignificant, unimportant, of little importance, of no importance, of little consequence, of no consequence, of little account, of no account, of no moment, incidental, inessential, non-essential, immaterial, irrelevant
      negligible, inappreciable, inconsiderable, slight, minor, trivial, trifling, petty, paltry, nugatory, not worth mentioning, not worth bothering about, not worth speaking of, insubstantial, silly, lightweight
      piddling, fiddling, piffling
      small-bore, picayune
      View synonyms
  • neither one thing nor the other

    • Not clearly either of two things.

      ‘Sam stands on the cusp, neither one thing nor the other’
      • ‘It's an unsettling time, neither one thing nor the other, and my mood reflects it faithfully.’
      • ‘What has transpired of course is neither one thing nor the other.’
      • ‘She gets frustrated with him because their relationship is neither one thing nor the other.’
      • ‘To be neither one thing nor the other in gender terms is to be both obviously wrong and utterly invisible.’
      • ‘Being freelance is a very attractive option to many of us but it is neither one thing nor the other.’
      • ‘Trumpeted as the next big allrounder, but at Port Elizabeth he looked neither one thing nor the other.’
      • ‘Mercury is, by nature, ambivalent, difficult to see, neither one thing nor the other.’
      • ‘Theirs was the awkward fate that often attends those who are neither one thing nor the other.’
      • ‘My generation of historians may be one of those that sit on the cusp, neither one thing nor the other.’
      • ‘Neither one thing nor the other, buyers often turn their noses up at the prospect of something different and distinctive.’
      indeterminate, indefinite, indistinct, insipid, nondescript, neutral, toneless, colourless, dull, drab, washed out
      View synonyms


Middle English: alteration (by association with either) of Old English nawther, contraction of nāhwæther (from nā ‘no’ + hwæther ‘whether’).