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Alternative forms[edit]


Etymology 1[edit]

From net ‎(elegant, neat) + -y ‎(forming adjs. of slightly lesser degree).[1]


netty ‎(comparative nettier, superlative nettiest)

  1. (obsolete, rare) Neat, well-groomed, natty.
    • 1573, Thomas Tusser, "Points of Huswifrie" in Fiue Hundreth Points of Good Husbandry:
      How prettie, how fine and how nettie,
      Good huswife should yettie.

Etymology 2[edit]

From net ‎(openwork fabric mesh) + -y ‎(forming adjs.).[2]


netty ‎(comparative nettier, superlative nettiest)

  1. Netted: made of or employing a net.
    • 1587, Leonard Mascall, The Booke of Cattell: Sheep, p. 214:
      Ye ought for to keepe them close, till the day haue taken the gellie or netty rime, from the earth.
  2. Netlike.

Etymology 3[edit]

Of uncertain etymology. Proposed derivations include a corruption of necessary ‎(euphemism for outhouse); French nettoyer ‎(to cleanse); and Italian gabbinetti ‎(toilets).[3]


netty ‎(plural netties)

  1. (Geordie) An outhouse: an outbuilding used as a lavatory.
    • 1825, John Trotter Brockett, Glossary of North Country Words:
      Neddy, Netty, a certain place that will not bear a written explanation, but which is depicted to the very life in a tail-piece in the first edition of Bewick's ‘Land Birds’ (1797), p. 285.
    • 1978, John Lewis, Uncertain Sound, Ch. iii, p. 75:
      A line of pit cottages... tiny back gardens with outside lavatories, ‘netties’, some of them emptied twice a week by the council.
    • 1992 May 4, The Independent, p. 13:
      Our toilet was an outside netty shared between two or three families, where you sat on a hole and hoped the cat wouldn't jump at your backside.
  2. (Geordie) Any other place or fixture used for urination and defecation: a lavatory; a toilet.
    • 1903, English Dialect Dictionary, Vol. IV, p. 255:
      Netty, a privy or water-closet... A common name, amongst the working classes... In common use. In my recollection it was looked upon as a euphemism.
Usage notes[edit]

Originally reckoned euphemistic.

  1. ^ "† netty, adj.¹" in the Oxford English Dictionary (2003), Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  2. ^ "netty, adj.²" in the Oxford English Dictionary (2003), Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  3. ^ "netty, n.", in the Oxford English Dictionary (2003), Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • A Dictionary of North East Dialect, Bill Griffiths, 2005, Northumbria University Press, ISBN 1904794165
  • Newcastle 1970s, Scott Dobson and Dick Irwin, [1]
  • Todd's Geordie Words and Phrases, George Todd, Newcastle, 1977[2]
  • The Geordie Netty: A Short History and Guide, Frank Graham, 1986, Butler Publishing; New edition, ISBN 0946928088[3]