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[tahy-dee] /ˈtaɪ di/
adjective, tidier, tidiest.
neat, orderly, or trim, as in appearance or dress:
a tidy room; a tidy person.
clearly organized and systematic:
a tidy mind; a tidy way of working.
tolerably good; acceptable:
They worked out a tidy arrangement agreeable to all.
fairly large; considerable:
a tidy sum.
verb (used with object), verb (used without object), tidied, tidying.
to make tidy or neat (often followed by up).
noun, plural tidies.
any of various articles for keeping things tidy, as a box having small drawers and compartments.
an antimacassar.
Origin of tidy
1200-50; Middle English tidi, tidy seasonable, hence good; cognate with Dutch tijdig. See tide1, -y1
Related forms
tidily, adverb
tidiness, noun
1. messy, sloppy. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for tidy
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • We inspected a farm in Mayo where the family and the cow lived in the same room, but it was kept remarkably clean and tidy.

    One Irish Summer William Eleroy Curtis
  • Before her, instead of the tidy supper-table, she was seeing the medicine-tray as she had left it.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • I wore my aunt's gown and handkerchief, and my hair was at least tidy, which was all my ambition.

    Jane Austen, Her Life and Letters William Austen-Leigh and Richard Arthur Austen-Leigh
  • She brushed some dust from her habit, and made sure that her hair was tidy.

    Roden's Corner Henry Seton Merriman
  • I believe you can attract trade here if you will have things nice, and bright, and tidy.

    Janice Day Helen Beecher Long
British Dictionary definitions for tidy


adjective -dier, -diest
characterized by or indicating neatness and order
(informal) considerable: a tidy sum of money
verb -dies, -dying, -died
when intr, usually foll by up. to put (things) in order; neaten
noun (pl) -dies
  1. a small container in which odds and ends are kept
  2. sink tidy, a container with holes in the bottom, kept in the sink to retain rubbish that might clog the plug hole
(mainly US & Canadian) an ornamental protective covering for the back or arms of a chair
Derived Forms
tidily, adverb
tidiness, noun
Word Origin
C13 (in the sense: timely, seasonable, excellent): from tide1 + -y1; related to Dutch tijdig timely
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 tidy

mid-13c., probably originally "in season, timely, opportune, excellent," from tide in the sense of "season, time" (see tide). Cf. Old High German zitig, German zeitig, Dutch tijdig, Danish tidig "timely." Meaning "neat and in order" first recorded 1706.


"to make neat, set in order," 1821, from tidy (adj.). Related: Tidied; tidying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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