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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 up
Historical Examples
  • Oh, very well,” he said: “let her come in, by all means; but just wait a minute till I tidy up the place.

    Dracula Bram Stoker
  • It was Madame Raquin who had to arrange the rooms and tidy up the shop.

    Therese Raquin Emile Zola
  • And then a number of brisk young men began with remarkable alacrity to tidy up the goods that remained disturbed.

    The Invisible Man H. G. Wells
  • As well might Hercules have attempted to tidy up the Augean stables with a squirt.

    Diary of a Pilgrimage Jerome K. Jerome
  • A kick from Tommy sent them into a corner where Mrs. Harris found them the next morning when she came to tidy up.

    Tommy Tregennis Mary Elizabeth Phillips
  • Simcox says the thing he chiefly wanted to do was to tidy up.

    Our Casualty And Other Stories James Owen Hannay, AKA George A. Birmingham
  • “You can wash up and tidy up, Porter,” he said to his friend.

  • He designates a trooper in turn to clean and tidy up the room.

    Trooper 3809 Lionel Decle
  • But poor Autumn could only tidy up Summer's old dress, which she did as well as she could, and then came out after the others.

  • tidy up your little home and make it as neat and cheerful as possible.

    The Victorious Attitude Orison Swett Marden
British Dictionary definitions for tidy up


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 up



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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