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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.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.



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)

Picturesque Expressions: A Thematic Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1980 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


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.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002
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
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ˈniːtnɪs] n
(= tidiness) → netteté f
(= cleverness) → habileté f
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(= 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
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˈniːtnɪs] n
a. (tidiness) → ordine m
b. (skilfulness) → abilità
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(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.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.
References in classic literature ?
They were then, with no other delay than his pointing out the neatness of the entrance taken into the house; and as soon as they were in the parlour, he welcomed them a second time, with ostentatious formality to his humble abode, and punctually repeated all his wife's offers of refreshment.
She had had the idea of giving it a certain daintiness, and she made much use of blue and red inks; she bound the copy in coarse paper, that looked vaguely like watered silk, in various pale colours; and she had acquired a reputation for neatness and accuracy.
Now, neatness and cleanliness are two of his strongest points.
Under their busy hands the rooms took on that appalling appearance of neatness and order with which death is greeted.
They received Pierre in their small, new drawing-room, where it was impossible to sit down anywhere without disturbing its symmetry, neatness, and order; so it was quite comprehensible and not strange that Berg, having generously offered to disturb the symmetry of an armchair or of the sofa for his dear guest, but being apparently painfully undecided on the matter himself, eventually left the visitor to settle the question of selection.
Perhaps its neatness was responsible for this; the whole establishment, house, barns, orchard, garden, lawn and lane, was so starkly neat.
At the time it was thought of making an offering of all our family to the dauphine, the idea of working the handkerchiefs was entertained, and some designs of exquisite beauty and neatness had been prepared.
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.
Darya Alexandrovna liked her neatness, her deferential and obliging manners, but she felt ill at ease with her.
Her mourning dress, worn with the modest grace and neatness which no misfortune could take from her, was suited to her altered station; her black gown was made of stuff; her black shawl and bonnet were of the plainest and cheapest kind.
The uninviting character of its outside was, however, happily relieved by the exquisite neatness and comfortable warmth within.
She might, by this time, have become impressed with the sinfulness of long indulgence in unavailing woe, or the necessity of setting a proper example of neatness and decorum to her blooming daughter.