From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: Neat and NEAT



  • IPA(key): /ˈniːt/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːt

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English nete, net, nette (> Modern net "after deductions, unadulterated"), from Anglo-Norman neit (good, desirable, clean), a variant of Old French net, nette ("clean, clear, pure"; from Latin nitidus (gleaming), from niteō (I shine)). Cognate with German nett (nice, kind).


neat (comparative neater, superlative neatest)

  1. Clean, tidy; free from dirt or impurities.
    My room is neat because I tidied it this morning.  She has very neat hair.
    • 1913, Mrs. [Marie] Belloc Lowndes, chapter II, in The Lodger, London: Methuen, →OCLC; republished in Novels of Mystery: The Lodger; The Story of Ivy; What Really Happened, New York, N.Y.: Longmans, Green and Co., [], [1933], →OCLC, page 0091:
      Then his sallow face brightened, for the hall had been carefully furnished, and was very clean. ¶ There was a neat hat-and-umbrella stand, and the stranger's weary feet fell soft on a good, serviceable dark-red drugget, which matched in colour the flock-paper on the walls.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, “Foreword”, in The China Governess: A Mystery, London: Chatto & Windus, →OCLC:
      A very neat old woman, still in her good outdoor coat and best beehive hat, was sitting at a polished mahogany table on whose surface there were several scored scratches so deep that a triangular piece of the veneer had come cleanly away, [].
  2. Free from contaminants; unadulterated, undiluted. Particularly of liquor and cocktails; see usage below.
    I like my whisky neat.
    • 1595, George Peele, The Old Wives’ Tale, The Malone Society Reprints, 1908, lines 464-465,[1]
      A cup of neate wine of Orleance,
      That never came neer the brewers of England.
    • 1756, David Garrick, Catharine and Petruchio[2], London: J. & R. Tonson and S. Draper, Prologue:
      From this same Head, this Fountain-head divine,
      For different Palates springs a different Wine!
      In which no Tricks, to strengthen, or to thin ’em—
      Neat as imported—no French Brandy in em’—
    • 1932, Winston Churchill, Painting as a Pastime, New York: Cornerstone Library, 1965,[3]
      At one side of the palette there is white, at the other black; and neither is ever used ‘neat.’
  3. (chemistry) Conditions with a liquid reagent or gas performed with no standard solvent or cosolvent.
    The Arbuzov reaction is performed by adding the bromide to the phosphite, neat.  The molecular beam was neat acetylene.
  4. (archaic) With all deductions or allowances made; net.
    • 1720, William Bond, chapter 4, in The History of the Life and Adventures of Mr. Duncan Campbell, London: E. Curll, pages 55–56:
      Why without telling the least title of Falshood, within the space of the last Week’s Play, the Gains of Count Cog, really amounted to no less than Twenty Thousand Pounds Sterling neat Money.
    • 1752, David Hume, Political Discourses[4], Edinburgh: A. Kincaid & A. Donaldson, Discourse 5, page 81:
      Dr. Swift [] says, in his short view of the state of Ireland, that the whole cash of that kingdom amounted to 500,000 l. that out of this they remitted every year a neat million to England, and had scarce any other source to compensate themselves from []
    • 1793, John Brand, The Alteration of the Constitution of the House of Commons, and the Inequality of the Land-Tax, Considered Jointly[5], London: J. Evans, Section III, p. 52:
      It may be said, that the increase of the tax is an uncompensated reduction of the neat income of the landlord []
  5. Having a simple elegance or style; clean, trim, tidy, tasteful.
    The front room was neat and carefully arranged for the guests.
  6. Well-executed or delivered; clever, skillful, precise.
    Having the two protagonists meet in the last act was a particularly neat touch.
  7. Facile; missing complexity or details in the favor of convenience or simplicity.
    Courts should not reduce this case to a neat set of legal rules.
  8. (Canada, US, colloquial) Good, excellent, desirable.
    Hey, neat convertible, man.
  9. Obsolete form of net (remaining after expenses or deductions).
    • 1824, Stephen Pike, The Teachers' Assistant: Or a System of Practical Arithmetic, page 97:
      What is the neat weight of 4 hogsheads of tobacco, each weighing 10cwt. 3qrs. 10lb. gross; — tare 100lb. per hdd.?
Usage notes[edit]
English Wikipedia has an article on:

In bartending, neat has the formal meaning “a liquor pour straight from the bottle into a glass, at room temperature, without ice or chilling”. This is contrasted with on the rocks (over ice), and with drinks that are chilled but strained (stirred over ice to chill, but poured through a strainer so that there is no ice in the glass), which is formally referred to as up. However, the terminology is a point of significant confusion, with neat, up, straight up, and straight being used by bar patrons (and some bartenders) variously and ambiguously to mean either “unchilled” or “chilled” (but without ice in the glass), and hence clarification is often required.[1][2]

  • (antonym(s) of "undiluted liquor or cocktail"): on the rocks
Coordinate terms[edit]
Derived terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.



  1. Used to signify a job well done.
  2. Used to signify approval.


neat (plural neats)

  1. (informal) An artificial intelligence researcher who believes that solutions should be elegant, clear and provably correct. Compare scruffy.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English nete, neat, from Old English nēat (animal, beast, ox, cow, cattle), from Proto-West Germanic *naut, from Proto-Germanic *nautą (foredeal, profit, property, livestock), from Proto-Indo-European *newd- (to acquire, make use of). Cognate with Dutch noot (cow, cattle, in compounds), dialectal German Noß (livestock), Alemannic German Nooss (young sheep or goat), Swedish nöt (cattle), Icelandic naut (cattle, bull) and Faroese neyt (cattle). More at note.


neat (plural neats or neat)

  1. (archaic) A bull or cow.


neat pl (plural only)

  1. (archaic) Cattle collectively.
Derived terms[edit]
Related terms[edit]


  1. ^ Up, Neat, Straight Up, or On the Rocks”, Jeffrey Morgenthaler, Friday, May 9th, 2008
  2. ^ Walkart, C.G. (2002). National Bartending Center Instruction Manual. Oceanside, California: Bartenders America, Inc. page 106





  1. basket




  1. third-person singular present active subjunctive of neō

Old English[edit]


From Proto-West Germanic *naut, from Proto-Germanic *nautą. Cognate with Old Frisian nāt, Old Saxon nōt, Dutch noot, Old High German nōz (dialectal German Nos), Old Norse naut.



nēat n

  1. cow, ox; animal



Related terms[edit]


  • English: neat

West Frisian[edit]


Negative form of eat. From Old Frisian nāt, nāut, nāwet. Compare English naught.



  1. nothing

Further reading[edit]

  • neat”, in Wurdboek fan de Fryske taal (in Dutch), 2011