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neat 1

adj. neat·er, neat·est
a. Orderly and clean; tidy: a neat office; a neat desk.
b. Habitually tidy or well-organized: was lucky to have a neat roommate.
2. Marked by ingenuity and skill; adroit: a neat turn of phrase.
3. Not diluted or mixed with other substances: neat whiskey.
4. Left after all deductions; net: neat profit.
5. Slang Wonderful; terrific: That was a neat party.

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

neat′ly adv.
neat′ness n.

neat 2

n. pl. neat Archaic
A cow or other domestic bovine animal.

[Middle English net, from Old English nēat.]



apple-pie order Excellent or perfect order. The phrase may seem “as American as apple pie,” but its origin is British, and murky. The OED’s first citation is from Sir Walter Scott in 1813. Some theorize the expression derived from the French cap-à-pie Trom head to foot’; others see it as a corruption of the French nappes pliées ‘folded linen.’ The story that it gained popularity in the United States because of the systematic and orderly arrangement of apple slices in pies baked by New England women is at least as amusing as the others are credible.

clean as a whistle Very clean; completely clean; also clear or dry as a whistle. This proverbial simile, which dates from the 1780s, is said to have derived from the fact that a whistle must be clean and dry in order to produce a sweet, pure sound.

shipshape In good order, trim, tidy. The original nautical term meant fully rigged or ship-rigged, as opposed to temporarily or jury-rigged. The word often appears in the full phrase all shipshape and Bristol fashion, dating from the days when ships of Bristol, famous for its maritime trade, were held in high regard. An entry under “Bristol fashion and shipshape” in Smyth’s Sailor’s Word-book (1867) reads:

Said when Bristol was in its palmy commercial days … and its shipping was all in proper good order.

spick and span Spotlessly clean, neat and tidy; a shortened form of the expression spick and span new meaning ‘completely brand-new.’ Although the exact origin of the expression is unknown, it has a possible connection with span ‘a chip or piece of wood’ and the obsolete meaning of spick ‘spikenail.’ Thus, a brand-new ship would have all new spicks and spans. According to the OED the longer expression first appeared in the late 1500s, while the abbreviated term more popular today came into use about 1665. It would seem that in dropping the new from the expression the emphasis shifted from newness itself to those qualities usually associated with new things such as freshness, cleanliness, tidiness, and neatness.

spit and polish Meticulous attention given to tidiness, orderliness, and a smart, well-groomed appearance. This expression found its first widespread use in the armed forces, where it alluded to the common custom of spitting on a shoe or other leather item and buffing it to a high polish. While the phrase retains its military application, it now carries the suggestion of extreme fastidiousness in maintaining a sharp, scrubbed, disciplined appearance.

To lessen the time spent in spit and polish to the detriment of real cavalry work. (United Service Magazine, December, 1898)

ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.neatness - the state of being neat and smart and trim
tidiness - the habit of being tidy
trim, trimness - a state of arrangement or appearance; "in good trim"
2.neatness - the trait of being neat and orderly
cleanliness - diligence in keeping clean


1. order, organization, harmony, tidiness, orderliness The grounds were a perfect balance between neatness and natural wildness.
2. tidiness, niceness, orderliness, smartness, fastidiousness, trimness, spruceness He was a paragon of neatness and efficiency.
4. cleverness, efficiency, precision, elegance, aptness He appreciated the neatness of their plan.
تَرْتيب، أناقَه، دِقَّه
derli toplulukdüzenlilikdüzgünlük


[ˈniːtnɪs] N
1. (= tidiness) [of room, garden, things] → orden m; [of handwriting, typing] → claridad f; [of person's appearance] → pulcritud f, prolijidad f (S. Cone)
2. (= cleverness) → habilidad f, destreza f
3. (= clarity) [of division] → claridad f


[ˈniːtnɪs] n
(= tidiness) → netteté f
(= cleverness) → habileté f


(= tidiness)Ordentlichkeit f; (of work, writing, sewing)Ordentlichkeit f, → Sauberkeit f
(= precision) (of category)Genauigkeit f; (of division)Sauberkeit f; (of summary, explanation)Prägnanz f
(= pleasing nature)Nettheit f; (of clothes)nettes Aussehen, Adrettheit f; (of person, figure)hübsches Aussehen; (of ankles)Schlankheit f
(= successfulness)Gelungenheit f; (= skilfulness) (of speech, style)Gewandtheit f; (of solution)Sauberkeit f, → Eleganz f; (of trick)Schlauheit f


[ˈniːtnɪs] n
a. (tidiness) → ordine m
b. (skilfulness) → abilità


(niːt) adjective
1. tidy; well-ordered, with everything in the right place. a neat house; She is very neat and tidy.
2. skilfully done. He has made a neat job of the repair.
3. (of drink, especially alcoholic) without added water. neat whisky.
ˈneatness noun
ˈneatly adverb
tidily or skilfully. Please write neatly.
References in classic literature ?
Jo rather prided herself upon her shopping capabilities, and particularly wished to impress her escort with the neatness and dispatch with which she would accomplish the business.
In short, the whole village or town, whichever it might be termed, possessed more of method and neatness of execution, than the white men had been accustomed to believe belonged, ordinarily, to the Indian habits.
Such, gentlemen, is the inflexibility of sea-usages and the instinctive love of neatness in seamen; some of whom would not willingly drown without first washing their faces.
With so well-trained a hand and eye, such perfect adroitness and practice in every art which could promote neatness and comfort, and keep out of sight every disagreeable incident of sickness,--with such a perfect sense of time, such a clear, untroubled head, such exact accuracy in remembering every prescription and direction of the doctors,-- she was everything to him.
All that the agent needed to do was to deftly and by degrees prepare the public for the great change, and have them established in predilections toward neatness against the time when the stove should appear upon the stage.
Magdalen was no judge of the admirable correctness with which the accounts inside were all kept; but she could estimate the neatness of the handwriting, the regularity in the rows of figures, the mathematical exactness of the ruled lines in red and black ink, the cleanly absence of blots, stains, or erasures.
Janet was a pretty blooming girl, of about nineteen or twenty, and a perfect picture of neatness.
Instantly, Miss Skiffins stopped it with the neatness of a placid boxer, took off that girdle or cestus as before, and laid it on the table.
His easy disposition made him fall in unresistingly with the family courses, but the need of some tender permanent affection, the longing for some influence that would make the good he preferred easy to pursue, caused the neatness, purity, and liberal orderliness of the Lammeter household, sunned by the smile of Nancy, to seem like those fresh bright hours of the morning when temptations go to sleep and leave the ear open to the voice of the good angel, inviting to industry, sobriety, and peace.
The style of these buildings evinces that the architect possessed neither the art of using lime or cement of any kind, nor the skill to throw an arch, construct a roof, or erect a stair ; and yet, with all this ignorance, showed great ingenuity in selecting the situation of Burghs, and regulating the access to them, as well as neatness and regularity in the erection, since the buildings themselves show a style of advance in the arts scarcely consistent with the ignorance of so many of the principal branches of architectural knowledge.
I think I was a good, prompt subaltern, and I am very sure that Hands was an excellent pilot, for we went about and about and dodged in, shaving the banks, with a certainty and a neatness that were a pleasure to behold.
And better than thou thinkest," replied Don Quixote, "as thou shalt see when thou carriest a letter written in verse from beginning to end to my lady Dulcinea del Toboso, for I would have thee know, Sancho, that all or most of the knights-errant in days of yore were great troubadours and great musicians, for both of these accomplishments, or more properly speaking gifts, are the peculiar property of lovers-errant: true it is that the verses of the knights of old have more spirit than neatness in them.