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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English nete, neat, from Old English nēat (animal, beast, ox, cow, cattle), 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). More at note.


neat (plural neats or neat)

  1. (archaic) A bull or cow.
    • 1663, Hudibras, by Samuel Butler, part 1, canto 2
      Sturdy he was, and no less able / Than Hercules to cleanse a stable; / As great a drover, and as great / A critic too, in hog or neat.
    • Shakespeare
      The steer, the heifer, and the calf / Are all called neat.
    • Tusser
      a neat and a sheep of his own.
  2. (archaic) Cattle collectively.
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, VI.9:
      From thence into the open fields he fled, / Whereas the Heardes were keeping of their neat []
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English *nete, net, nette (> Modern net "good, clean"), from Anglo-Norman neit (good, desireable, clean), apparently a conflation of Old French net, nette ("clean, clear, pure"; from Latin nitidus (gleaming), from niteō (I shine)) and Middle English *neit, nait ("in good order, trim, useful, dextrous"; from Old Norse neytr (fit for use, in good order), from Proto-Germanic *nautiz (useful, helpful)). See nait.


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.
    • 1915, Mrs. Belloc Lowndes, The Lodger, chapter II:
      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[1]:
      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.
  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.
  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. (colloquial) Good, excellent, desirable.
    Hey, neat convertible, man.
Coordinate terms[edit]
Usage notes[edit]

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]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


neat (plural neats)

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


  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-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



West Frisian[edit]


Negative form of eat



  1. nothing