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[neet] /nit/
adjective, neater, neatest.
in a pleasingly orderly and clean condition:
a neat room.
habitually orderly and clean in appearance or habits:
a neat person.
of a simple, pleasing appearance, style, design, etc.:
a neat cottage.
cleverly effective in character or execution:
a neat scheme; a neat solution.
Slang. great; wonderful; fine:
What a neat car!
clever, dexterous, or apt:
She gave a neat characterization of the old woman.
straight (def 33).
Building Trades.
  1. (of cement) without sand or other aggregate.
  2. (of plaster) without any admixture except hair or fiber.
neat profits.
Informal. neatly.
Origin of neat1
1300-50; Middle English net spruce, trim, clean < Middle French < Latin nitidus shining, polished, handsome, spruce, equivalent to nit(ēre) to shine + -idus -id4
Related forms
neatly, adverb
neatness, noun
1. spruce, smart. 4. finished, well-planned. 6. adroit. 7. unmixed, pure.
1. sloppy. 6. maladroit. 7. mixed. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for neatness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She stepped out into the side porch and looked about her with a glance of pleasure in the neatness and charm of the little place.

    Little Lost Sister Virginia Brooks
  • Cody's planes are noted for their neatness, rigidity and smoothness.

    Flying Machines W.J. Jackman and Thos. H. Russell
  • She unpacked her trunk and hung up her clothes with care and neatness which the Ethels admired.

    Ethel Morton's Holidays Mabell S. C. Smith
  • It is the only tavern in the village, and for neatness and comfort can not easily be surpassed.

  • With neatness and dispatch he guided the brig across the dangerous waters of the Atlantic and into her haven.

    The Story of John Paul Jones Chelsea Curtis Fraser
  • Let neatness, and elegance, and beauty exhibit their proudest charms.

    Imogen William Godwin
  • But it should be added that those who have always been accustomed to eat with their fingers do so with dexterity and neatness.

    India and the Indians Edward F. Elwin
  • neatness was at all times my pride; but now plainness was the conformity to necessity.

  • Indeed, I must own that, in point of neatness, Susan was even superior to my old friend Rose.

British Dictionary definitions for neatness


clean, tidy, and orderly
liking or insisting on order and cleanliness; fastidious
smoothly or competently done; efficient: a neat job
pat or slick: his excuse was suspiciously neat
(of alcoholic drinks) without added water, lemonade, etc; undiluted
a less common word for net2 neat profits
(slang, mainly US & Canadian) good; pleasing; admirable
Derived Forms
neatly, adverb
neatness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Old French net, from Latin nitidus clean, shining, from nitēre to shine; related to Middle Irish niam beauty, brightness, Old Persian naiba- beautiful


noun (pl) neat
(archaic or dialect) a domestic bovine animal
Word Origin
Old English neat
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for neatness



1540s, "clean, free from dirt," from Anglo-French neit, Middle French net "clear, pure" (12c.), from Latin nitidus "well-favored, elegant, trim," literally "gleaming," from nitere "to shine," from PIE root *nei- "to shine" (cf. Middle Irish niam "gleam, splendor," niamda "shining;" Old Irish noib "holy," niab "strength;" Welsh nwyfiant "gleam, splendor").

Meaning "inclined to be tidy" is from 1570s. Of liquor, "straight," c.1800, from meaning "unadulterated" (of wine), which is first attested 1570s. Informal sense of "very good" first recorded 1934 in American English; variant neato is teenager slang, first recorded 1968. Related: Neatly; neatness.


"ox, bullock, cow," Old English neat "ox, beast, animal," from Proto-Germanic *nautam "thing of value, possession" (cf. Old Frisian nat, Middle Dutch noot, Old High German noz, Old Norse naut), from PIE root *neud- "to make use of, enjoy."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for neatness



  1. Excellent; wonderful (1920s+ Teenagers)
  2. Without water or another mixer; undiluted; straight, straight-up •Used to describe spirits: I'll take my Scotch neat, please (1579+)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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