from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Orderly and clean; tidy.
  • adj. Orderly and precise in procedure; systematic.
  • adj. Marked by ingenuity and skill; adroit: a neat turn of phrase.
  • adj. Not diluted or mixed with other substances: neat whiskey.
  • adj. Left after all deductions; net: neat profit.
  • adj. Slang Wonderful; terrific: That was a neat party.
  • n. Archaic A cow or other domestic bovine animal.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Clean, tidy; free from dirt or impurities.
  • adj. Free from contaminants; unadulterated, undiluted. Particularly of liquor and cocktails; see usage below.
  • adj. Conditions with a liquid reagent or gas performed with no standard solvent or cosolvent
  • adj. With all deductions or allowances made; net.
  • adj. Having a simple elegance or style; clean, trim, tidy, tasteful.
  • adj. Well-executed or delivered; clever, skilful, precise.
  • adj. Good, excellent, desirable.
  • n. A bull or cow.
  • n. Cattle collectively.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of or pertaining to the genus Bos, or to cattle of that genus.
  • adj. Free from that which soils, defiles, or disorders; clean; cleanly; tidy.
  • adj. Free from what is unbecoming, inappropriate, or tawdry; simple and becoming; pleasing with simplicity; tasteful; chaste
  • adj. Free from admixture or adulteration; good of its kind.
  • adj. Excellent in character, skill, or performance, etc.; nice; finished; adroit
  • adj. With all deductions or allowances made; net. [In this sense usually written net. See Net, a., 3.]
  • n. Cattle of the genus Bos, as distinguished from horses, sheep, and goats; an animal of the genus Bos

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Cattle of the bovine genus, as bulls, oxen, and cows: used collectively.
  • n. A single bovine animal.
  • Being or relating to animals of the ox kind: as, neat cattle.
  • Clear; pure; unmixed; undiluted; unadulterated: as, a glass of brandy neat.
  • Clear of any extraneous matter; clear of the cask, case, wrapper, etc.; with all deductions made: as, neat weight.
  • Free from what is undesirable, offensive, unbecoming, or in bad taste; pleasing; nice.
  • Characterized by nicety of appearance, construction, arrangement, etc.; nice; hence, orderly; trim; tidy; often, specifically, clean; as, a neat box; the apartment was always very neat; neat in one's dress.
  • Well-shaped or well-proportioned; cleancut: as, a neat foot and ankle.
  • Complete in character, skill, etc.; exact; finished; adroit; clever; skilful: applied to persons or things.
  • Spruce; finical; over-nice.
  • A commendatory word, used somewhat vaguely.
  • Synonyms Clean, cleanly, unsoiled.
  • Neatly.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. free from what is tawdry or unbecoming
  • adj. without water
  • adj. clean or organized
  • adj. showing care in execution
  • adj. free from clumsiness; precisely or deftly executed
  • adj. very good


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Anglo-Norman neit, clear, pure, variant of Old French net, from Latin nitidus, elegant, gleaming, from nitēre, to shine.
Middle English net, from Old English nēat.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English nete, neat, from Old English nēat ("animal, beast, ox, cow, cattle"), from Proto-Germanic *nautan (“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"), Swiss German Nooss ("young sheep or goat"), Swedish nöt ("cattle"), Icelandic naut ("cattle"). More at note.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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.



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  •                             "I am indeed, sir, a surgeon
    to old shoes; when they are in great danger, I
    recover them. As proper men as ever trod upon
    neat's leather have gone upon my handiwork."
    – Second Commoner (a cobbler), in Shakespeare, Julius Ceasar, Act I, scene i.

    June 6, 2015

  • A commendatory word, used somewhat vaguely. - Century Dictionary

    August 22, 2012

  • "dried neat's tongues."

    April 23, 2011

  • Mighty keen, Eugene!

    May 22, 2007

  • Heh...I wonder if someone's made a list for funnily innocuous words from the 50's like this one?

    May 22, 2007

  • Gee willikers, this word is swell!

    May 21, 2007