Definition of neither in English:

neither

determiner & pronoun

  • 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’
    • ‘I've run second a few times but neither of us had won the entire series of games previous to this!’
    • ‘I suppose it's because neither of the Scottish sides have made the breakthrough yet.’
    • ‘Despite the big numbers, neither of the town's MPs claimed as much in expenses as they could have.’
    • ‘Great effort from the edge of the box - neither of these two sides is prepared to settle for a draw.’
    • ‘With neither of them in the first flush of youth, he worries about what will happen to his collection when he is gone.’
    • ‘Legal Aid told him that neither of them were into such stuff and eventually he put the phone down.’
    • ‘The marriage was finally approved, but the bride was married with neither of her parents at her side.’
    • ‘Upon realising my error, it all felt a bit awkward, but neither of us could bring ourselves to mention my faux pas.’
    • ‘The problem, at least for those holidaying in Gibraltar, is that neither of these hotels has a beach.’
    • ‘During dinner we were given something that neither of us had seen before.’
    • ‘We arrived fashionably late and neither of us had any supper so we thought we'd grab a bite there.’
    • ‘He disagrees but neither of us can fight the fact that things are weird.’
    • ‘It is the kind of connection the human heart longs to make, and neither of them mistake it for what it is not.’
    • ‘In theory, we were going to walk up the thousand steps, but neither of us could be bothered.’
    • ‘We have been speaking regularly and neither of us has had too much sleep.’
    • ‘For a while you could get it on the Wayback Machine but it's gone even from there and neither of us thought to make new copies.’
    • ‘Except he would take cream with his coffee and neither of us would smoke.’
    • ‘So neither of them moved, and the algae that grows on the sloth's fur got to the finish line first.’
    • ‘A battle between father and son is about to erupt, though neither of them realise it yet.’
    • ‘A quick flick of the head confirms neither of the other two are objecting.’

adverb

  • 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’

Usage

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 thought to be 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. 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

Phrases

  • 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘To be neither one thing nor the other in gender terms is to be both obviously wrong and utterly invisible.’
      • ‘She gets frustrated with him because their relationship is neither one thing nor the other.’
      • ‘What has transpired of course is neither one thing nor the other.’
      • ‘Being freelance is a very attractive option to many of us but it is 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.’
      • ‘Trumpeted as the next big allrounder, but at Port Elizabeth he looked 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.’
      indeterminate, indefinite, indistinct, insipid, nondescript, neutral, toneless, colourless, dull, drab, washed out
      View synonyms

Origin

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

Pronunciation

neither

/ˈniːðə//ˈnʌɪðə/