Definition of tidy in English:



  • 1Arranged neatly and in order.

    ‘his scrupulously tidy apartment’
    figurative ‘the lives they lead don't fit into tidy patterns’
    • ‘I was very particular about these things - I had to make everything perfectly tidy and orderly, or I would go crazy.’
    • ‘If you give an example of keeping things well organised and tidy, the chances are your adolescent will eventually do the same.’
    • ‘The judges were very impressed with the area and how tidy and neat it is.’
    • ‘They can barely wait to get rid of the place so they can return to a tidy apartment in Paris with a bistro next door.’
    • ‘She prided her self in loving everything neat, tidy and organised.’
    • ‘Robert Cecil was Secretary of State as well as Leader of the House of Commons, and made earnest efforts to regulate the private lives of citizens into a neat and tidy pattern.’
    • ‘The hippie girls, Kelly and Mollie, finally moved off the island and out of the trailer, and now have a tidy apartment up in the 80s.’
    • ‘His wife, Olfah, is arranging furniture that has just arrived at their tidy two-bedroom flat.’
    • ‘The mess the workmen had created in her normally tidy and well-organised house had driven her out and down to the local shops in an attempt to get away from them.’
    • ‘It would only take a couple of minutes to keep outside business premises tidy.’
    • ‘Lace curtains neatly surround the latticed windows while pretty flowers border the tidy garden which has obviously been lovingly kept.’
    • ‘The village was neat, with tidy little houses, arranged along three roads leading out from this castle.’
    • ‘Wellingborough is tidy, neat and comfortable rather than prosperous.’
    • ‘By the day of the party, Rowena and Sammy were entirely unpacked, the apartment was tidy, and the food preparations were on schedule.’
    • ‘They were packed with tidy rows of disks, neatly labeled and organized alphabetically.’
    • ‘When I sit down on empty days like this and wonder what to do with myself I think mostly of tidy roses and neatly mown lawns.’
    • ‘A careful and conscientious farmer, he kept his farmyard, fences and land in good repair, and always had a neat and tidy garden.’
    • ‘This will be an integral part of the tidy towns five year plan.’
    • ‘Salford has efficient binmen and clean, tidy town centres, roads and parks, says an independent watchdog.’
    • ‘Although I'm not hugely obsessive about it, it has to at least appear to be tidy and clean.’
    neat, neat and tidy, as neat as a new pin, orderly, well ordered, in order, in good order, well kept, in apple-pie order, immaculate, spick and span, uncluttered, organized, well organized, well arranged, sorted out, straight, straightened out, trim, spruce
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    1. 1.1(of a person) inclined to keep things or one's appearance neat and in order.
      ‘she was a tidy little girl’
      • ‘She's fabulously sweet to us, and thinks we're very tidy and considerate.’
      • ‘I'm sure this doesn't apply to you, because anybody who reads this is probably a considerate and reasonably tidy person.’
      • ‘After the third knock a charming and tidy gentleman appeared at the front door.’
      • ‘Lydie, a more calm and tidy girl by nature, had graduated at the top of her class back in Mount Lennon.’
      • ‘She'd never been a very tidy person; thus the slightly mess apartment.’
      • ‘He is a small, tidy man with a neat beard and an orange Yves Saint Laurent top.’
      • ‘Box up and stow away any overspill of ornaments and act like an obsessively tidy person, neatly fold and put away until you've exchanged contracts.’
      • ‘Irving, thought by his family at home in Vermont to be obsessively tidy, is a control freak.’
      • ‘And then he decided the reason we aren't living together is because you're tidy and I'm not.’
      • ‘It looks like the home of a particularly tidy student.’
      • ‘If you wore slacks you were almost certainly a member of the golf club, you were neat and tidy and smart, you were destined for a middling job, an early marriage and early middle age.’
      • ‘Yet this girl, with a meticulously tidy mother and accountant father, was a walking bomb site who couldn't add up.’
      smart, spruce, dapper, trim, neat, well groomed, well turned out
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    2. 1.2Not messy; neat and controlled.
      ‘he wrote down her replies in a small, tidy hand’
      • ‘He has a tidy action and excellent control over his line and length.’
      • ‘The words inside were written in black ink, in very neat and tidy handwriting.’
      • ‘In a rather neat and tidy package, the movie playfully portrays the highs and lows of a complicated dating process.’
      • ‘Wilson runs a neat and tidy show, with just the occasional seasoning of edge to it.’
      • ‘Bassett keeps these feelings just below the surface, letting the viewer watch as she struggles to maintain her tidy life in control.’
      • ‘She turned the paper so that the side with Christy's tidy writing faced outward.’
      • ‘Patterson and New Zealand pro Matt Horne seized control in the face of a tidy but far from fierce attack.’
      • ‘All the fans want, really, is a tidy procedure that neatly resolves the loose ends.’
      • ‘York bowled a tidy and straight line but NYCA never kept up with the required run rate despite Conway batting right through for an unbeaten 68.’
      • ‘This time, he was more confident and more controlled, but still managed some very spectacular and tidy dancing.’
      • ‘I never thought of him being meticulous, but you're probably right; his handwriting was very neat and very tidy.’
      • ‘My neat, tidy organised life is structured to avoid self-inflicted nasty surprises.’
      • ‘Of course, this process is not as neat and tidy as I have made it appear.’
      • ‘He did not threaten aerially but was prepared to tackle and his distribution was generally tidy.’
      • ‘You'll see neat and tidy chapters, broken into subsets on theory, mechanics, and practice.’
      • ‘The results move straight into a very tidy profit and loss account, balance sheet and cash flow statement, followed by cleanly presented notes.’
      • ‘I'm just looking for a neat and tidy finish to the season before preparing for the new one.’
      • ‘The open-ended nature of the story is in keeping with the character who has been presented to us but is a little on the frustrating side for anyone seeking tidy endings.’
  • 2informal [attributive] (of an amount, especially of money) considerable.

    ‘the book will bring in a tidy sum’
    • ‘The Poker Run of a few weeks ago benefited St. Vincent's Hospital in Mountmellick and raised a very tidy sum with the money still coming in.’
    • ‘The night is due to be a good one and you never know you might win a tidy sum of money just before Christmas.’
    • ‘Plus, the money I don't spend on meat will amount to a tidy sum as the years pass.’
    • ‘Irvine has made a tidy living as a controversial tabloid editor, columnist and now owner of his Glasgow-based PR company Media House.’
    • ‘For this little upset, she was awarded the tidy sum of £3,500.’
    • ‘At $10 a month per user, that amounts to a tidy sum.’
    • ‘He pocketed quite a tidy sum and left a richer man.’
    • ‘It amounts to the tidy sum of several thousand dollars.’
    • ‘The Glasgow firm, a world leader in the supply of temporary power and temperature control units, also made a tidy fortune from millennium parties around the world.’
    • ‘We deferred almost all our household spending for six months and thus earned a tidy amount of extra interest.’
    • ‘This tidy sum may be dinner money for many of you high-flyers, but for the rest of us, it would go down a treat.’
    • ‘All who attended, not just the winners who walked away with a nice tidy sum of money, had a great night.’
    • ‘The seller will be content to depart with a tidy sum as a reward for years spent developing the enterprise.’
    • ‘He put a tidy amount on at 40-1 and picked up a four-figure sum.’
    • ‘Well done to both girls who finished the run in a good time and managed to raise a tidy sum of money in sponsorship for Newry and Mourne Hospice.’
    • ‘At a fiver a head it would have made a tidy sum for some deserving cause.’
    • ‘Helen's father, Francis, sold the winning ticket and he received a tidy sum of €440.’
    • ‘However, I plan to retire long before then with a tidy income from company and private pensions, ISAs, property and so on.’
    • ‘They generally look to sell off the businesses between three and five years for a tidy profit.’
    • ‘You could join the thieves guild and make quite a tidy bit of money.’
    large, sizeable, considerable, substantial, significant, appreciable, handsome, generous, ample, respectable, largish, biggish, fair, decent, decent-sized, healthy
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  • 1[usually with modifier] A receptacle for holding small objects or waste scraps.

    ‘a cable tidy’
    • ‘Disposing of the tub in the kitchen tidy, she searched the lounge room for her mobile phone and wallet.’
    • ‘As we look down the inside length of the unit, on the left hand side at the rear is a nice cable tidy, to keep the power leads out of your way.’
    • ‘Indeed, almost as wide and as deep as the car it sits on, the slide-and-tilt sunroof is so spectacularly capacious that the interior could, given a wicker chair or two and a magazine tidy, usefully double as a conservatory.’
    • ‘Cables are the bane of any globetrotting geek's life, and while there seems to be no perfect solution to the misery of self-knotting spaghetti, I am taken with the ease and simplicity of the magnetic cable tidies.’
    • ‘The pen tidy in question wasn't a container, it was a lump of something jellified with holes in so that you had to choose which pen fitted which hole and then rearrange them like flowers or pineapple chunks on sticks in a grapefruit.’
  • 2US

    another term for antimacassar


  • Bring order to; arrange neatly.

    ‘the boys have finally tidied their bedroom’
    figurative ‘the bill is intended to tidy up the law on this matter’
    [no object] ‘I'll just go and tidy up’
    • ‘The good thing about spending all weekend tidying my bedroom is that I have a tidy bedroom.’
    • ‘Tributes were also made to everyone who had cleaned and tidied the graves and to those who cut the grass.’
    • ‘He'd apparently spent all day at home tidying his property and had even had flower-arrangers in to do work.’
    • ‘Then we could see all the chefs tidying stuff away and we realised that it wasn't going to be.’
    • ‘He ordered that the place be tidied up to disguise evidence of a party.’
    • ‘Surely it's impossible to simply pick up a pile of papers and staple them without tidying them?’
    • ‘I welcome their efforts in picking things up off the floor and tidying their rooms.’
    • ‘The wells in the old graveyard are being tidied up and cleaned for the day.’
    • ‘It is the council which allowed rubble to be tipped there, it is the council which has never cleaned or tidied it.’
    • ‘You wouldn't believe what I found under the rug when I was tidying this place up.’
    • ‘When she arrived, Sam brought her to his workstation where they chatted while he tidied his desk.’
    • ‘Used needles, rubbish and even a caravan had been left on the site, creating a danger to those tidying it up.’
    • ‘If the weather stays reasonable I'll be tidying the garden but that won't take too much effort.’
    • ‘This doesn't stop me waking up early and running round tidying the flat, polishing and cleaning.’
    • ‘Thinking they were arguing, she continued vacuum cleaning and tidying the rest of the house.’
    • ‘In theory I was supposed to be paying bills and tidying paperwork too, but that never happened.’
    • ‘Suddenly there is nothing to worry about other than tidying my room and sending emails.’
    • ‘Today will mostly be spent tidying my flat, which is an utterly disgraceful mess.’
    • ‘At a knock on her door, she tidied the desk quickly and sat down with a book.’
    • ‘I decided to make a start on tidying things in readiness for the move to a new family house.’
    groom oneself, spruce oneself up, freshen oneself up, preen oneself, primp oneself, prink oneself, pretty oneself, beautify oneself
    put in order, clear up, sort out, put to rights, make shipshape, clean, clean up, spruce up
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Middle English: from the noun tide + -y. The original meaning was timely, opportune; it later had various senses expressing approval, usually of a person, including attractive healthy and skillful; the sense orderly, neat dates from the early 18th century.