Definition of neuter in English:



  • 1Of or denoting a gender of nouns in some languages, typically contrasting with masculine and feminine or common.

    ‘the Spirit is a neuter word in Greek’
    • ‘Still, the grammatical rule, Macgregor points out, is that the adjective, when qualifying two nouns of different genders, agrees with the masculine or feminine noun rather than with the neuter noun, irrespective of position.’
    • ‘The vast majority of nouns are masculine or feminine, though there are a few neuter nouns.’
    • ‘Scripture does not decide it, Spirit being feminine in Hebrew, neuter in Greek, and masculine in Latin.’
    • ‘I decided that it was time to catch up with the rest of the world, and most other news organisations refer to ships as neuter.’
    • ‘The masculine does not correspond to the probata, which is neuter, although it agrees with boas, which is masculine.’
  • 2(of an animal) lacking developed sexual organs, or having had them removed.

    • ‘My dog is neuter.’
    • ‘Keynes has found a list of the pros and cons of marriage written by Darwin when he was 29: ‘My God, it is intolerable to think of spending one's whole life, like a neuter bee, working, working, and nothing after all.’’
    1. 2.1 (of a plant or flower) having neither functional pistils nor functional stamens.
      • ‘Neuter flowers contained an average of 7.6 gl of nectar, and none were empty.’
      • ‘This neuter plant, Humulus lupulus, produced no flowers for two years.’
    2. 2.2 (of a person) apparently having no sexual characteristics; asexual.
      ‘soft, languid, sexually neuter types’
      • ‘No allowance is made in the Writ for sexual orientations, because Angels are in truth, neuter.’
      • ‘Terentzala was the neuter God and ever unfulfilled because he would never have a mate.’
      • ‘‘Sure,’ he said convinced that he was a jerk, a neuter slave reaching for her shoes.’
      • ‘Some neuter youths were throwing stones at the windows of one of the tuck shops, and I wanted to bring a copy of the photograph back to the city and put it into the Sage collection in the archives.’
      • ‘He was surprised to hear a neuter voice ask him to specify his instructions.’
      asexual, sexless, unsexed, epicene
      View synonyms


  • 1Grammar
    A neuter word.

    • ‘The feminine pronoun she was often used for the United States as well, but he says that ‘of late years we have gradually drifted into the custom of adopting the neuter it, which makes necessary the use of the singular verb.’’
    • ‘That would account for someone deciding that the plural ending was i, not realizing that this was true only of masculine nouns, not neuters.’
    • ‘The name Brahm is the masculine Sanskrit form corresponding to the neuter Brahman or Brahma - the Absolute on which the whole universe is based.’
    • ‘English also has some Latin neuter singulars, ending in um, with a plural ending in A - bacterium is an example, the plural is bacteria; nobody says bacteriums.’
    • ‘A guess is that octopod is a backformation from the neuter plural octopoda, the name of the order containing octopuses.’
    1. 1.1the neuter The neuter gender.
      • ‘An epiphany of the Loved, the feminine is not added to an object and a Thou antecedently given or encountered in the neuter (the sole gender formal logic knows.)’
      • ‘This North Queensland language has four genders: masculine, feminine, edible and neuter.’
      • ‘Other European languages have two or three so-called ‘genders', masculine, feminine, and neuter.’
      • ‘When used in the neuter - ìî, òî - it can mean ‘something or anything of mine/yours.’’
  • 2A non-fertile caste of social insect, especially a worker bee or ant.

    • ‘The worker ant, although in common parlance a "neuter," is structurally a female.’
    • ‘It appears to us quite as rational and philosophical to suppose, that a queen bee could be converted into a neuter.’
    1. 2.1 A castrated or spayed domestic animal.
      • ‘if you cat is a neuter you can only enter neuter classes.’
      • ‘My other cats are all neuters.’
    2. 2.2 An asexual person.
      ‘the conquering hero is a neuter’
      • ‘But can Sylvia stay a sex addict when Big Ethel, the other neuters, and her husband are out to cure her before it's too late?’
      • ‘On the other hand, Raven's blatant foregrounding of sex in Phineas Finn reminds us that Trollope's young heroes are neither neuters nor angels in their ‘private’, un-narrated lives.’
      • ‘It could be like ‘West Side Story,’ with the sex addicts versus the neuters.’
      • ‘I'd also like to report, on a lighter note, that this song racily mentions ‘making love’ at a time when the Boys were still supposedly buzz-cut neuters without a prurient interest in their hearts.’
      • ‘And then there's that voice: a lazy, amniotic drift like some ageless, graceful neuter, swathed in a nimbus of echo and reverb.’
      • ‘And compared to recent pop neuters Gareth Gates and Will Young, he's starting to look like Frank Zappa.’
      • ‘Thinking of ourselves seriously, not as one of the boys, not as neuters, or androgynes, but as women.’
      • ‘As the final battle between the sex-addicts and the neuters unfolds, head injuries multiply, heralding the orgiastic dawn of the neighborhood's sexual - and genuinely moral - awakening.’


[with object]
  • 1Castrate or spay (a domestic animal)

    ‘all pit bulls must be registered and neutered’
    ‘a neutered tomcat’
    • ‘The typical cost of neutering a cat is about $125 for a female and $65 for a male.’
    • ‘People in receipt of old age pension and medical cards may be able to receive assistance in neutering cats and dogs at other times also.’
    • ‘We have no bylaws forcing pet owners to spay or neuter their cats and dogs.’
    • ‘The only way to remove an unwanted recessive like long hair from a breeding program is to spay or neuter all kittens who inherit that trait and all cats who produce it.’
    • ‘There are, however, many health advantages to spaying and neutering a Shih Tzu puppy early.’
    • ‘If your cat is not neutered at six months of age, he will be mature enough to reproduce now.’
    • ‘Spay or neuter your pets to help reduce the number of unwanted pets that may not be properly cared for or regularly vaccinated.’
    • ‘It turns out that spaying or neutering your cat or dog is the same thing as eugenics!’
    • ‘Their members, who range from professionals to students, proactively trap and spay or neuter feral cats and then return them to a colony to live out their lives.’
    • ‘Why then did the writers miss a golden opportunity to stress the need to spay and neuter the family dog?’
    • ‘For the same reason, it is equally important to spay or neuter a pet if he or she has not already undergone this procedure.’
    • ‘A £20 voucher would be given to the new dog owner by the Council as part payment of the cost charged by the vet for neutering their pet.’
    • ‘The other compelling reason to spay or neuter your pet is the very real fact that there are not enough loving homes available to adopt all the needy pets.’
    • ‘It is essential that you take the time to really consider whether or not you should neuter your cat.’
    • ‘Spayed or neutered cats are often more friendly with their owners than they would usually be.’
    • ‘By talking to young people the LSPCA hoped to promote the importance of neutering their pets to reduce the hundreds of animals living in misery.’
    • ‘Male cats sometimes spray urine to mark their territory; this is yet another good reason to be sure you neuter your pet (neutered males are less likely to spray).’
    • ‘Spaying or neutering your rabbit improves litter-box habits, lessens chewing behaviour, decreases territorial aggression, and gives your rabbit a happier, longer life.’
    • ‘The only way to solve the cat over population crisis is for every cat owner to spay / neuter their cat.’
    • ‘Owners neuter male dogs and cats when the flow of testosterone in their bloodstream generates either unmanageable behaviour or unwanted offspring.’
    castrate, geld, cut, emasculate
    View synonyms
  • 2Make ineffective.

    ‘disarmament negotiations that will neuter their military power’
    • ‘I'm worried that it's just another covert and cunning way for Labour to try and neuter other parties.’
    • ‘Proactive filtering can help neuter such phishing attacks, and also counter spyware, which can secretly gather personal information such as your email address, location and even credit card information, and pass it on to a third party.’
    • ‘If the mobile telephone operator neuters Bluetooth on the Motorola V710, it means the phone won't work with BMW, Acura, or Lexus automobiles.’
    • ‘Under your watch, the electoral system is being neutered and rendered ineffective.’
    • ‘Let's not forget that it was Labor who allowed Ahern out of question time because of one of their side deals that effectively neutered certain opposition powers.’
    • ‘This facility has been targeted by the Medical Association for Prevention of War and other Leftist groups that seek to divide Australia from her allies and neuter our military.’
    • ‘It is the bill that will, up and down the country, neuter sports clubs that rely on pokie money for equipment, travel assistance, and all sorts of other things.’
    • ‘So the court has now, in a sense, neutered the police's power.’
    • ‘For his next film outing, Rock should look for a project that showcases, rather than neuters, his abilities.’
    • ‘Plotz deftly neuters Graham's ridiculous eugenics, putting his noxious opinions in their historical context of the KKK and the rise of fascism in Europe in the 1930s.’
    • ‘One concern frequently expressed by commentators in Canada is that the increased integration of the U.S. and Canadian economies will reduce, if not effectively neuter, the policy levers of the Canadian government.’
    • ‘The Scottish Executive's suggestion that the park should also be neutered by depriving it of powers to control damaging developments has also run into fierce opposition.’
    • ‘If this isn't an example of how the Hollywood system neuters promising young directors, I'm not sure what is.’
    • ‘No wonder our top military planners want to neuter these people.’
    • ‘Finally, it replicates the kind of brokerage approach to politics that inevitably neuters black agency.’
    • ‘Such is the environment that will either nurture or neuter election reform over the coming months.’
    • ‘Having outmanoeuvred the CalMac board on the pay negotiations, the politicians are now determined to neuter the civil service influence on appointments and shake up the state-owned company.’
    • ‘That the right thing to do is neuter ourselves by going to college and getting jobs and listening to lactating liberal college professors talk about a world they see through pink-tinted sunglasses.’
    • ‘He believes that neutering the detective powers of the police service has been one of the key political objectives of Sinn Fein.’


Late Middle English: via Old French from Latin neuter ‘neither’, from ne- ‘not’ + uter ‘either’.