from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A cow or other domestic bovine animal.
  • adjective Orderly and clean; tidy.
  • adjective Habitually tidy or well-organized.
  • adjective Marked by ingenuity and skill; adroit.
  • adjective Not diluted or mixed with other substances.
  • adjective Left after all deductions; net.
  • adjective Slang Wonderful; terrific.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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.
  • noun Cattle of the bovine genus, as bulls, oxen, and cows: used collectively.
  • noun A single bovine animal.
  • Being or relating to animals of the ox kind: as, neat cattle.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Of or pertaining to the genus Bos, or to cattle of that genus.
  • noun (Zoöl.) Cattle of the genus Bos, as distinguished from horses, sheep, and goats; an animal of the genus Bos
  • noun an oil obtained by boiling the feet of neat cattle. It is used to render leather soft and pliable.
  • adjective Free from that which soils, defiles, or disorders; clean; cleanly; tidy.
  • adjective Free from what is unbecoming, inappropriate, or tawdry; simple and becoming; pleasing with simplicity; tasteful; chaste
  • adjective (Chem.) Free from admixture or adulteration; good of its kind.
  • adjective Excellent in character, skill, or performance, etc.; nice; finished; adroit
  • adjective With all deductions or allowances made; net. [In this sense usually written net. See Net, a., 3.]
  • adjective (Civil Engin.) a line to which work is to be built or formed.
  • adjective work built or formed to neat lines.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

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


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

[Middle English net, from Old English nēat.]

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.]

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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  • Gee willikers, this word is swell!

    May 21, 2007

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

    May 22, 2007

  • Mighty keen, Eugene!

    May 22, 2007

  • "dried neat's tongues."

    April 23, 2011

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

    August 22, 2012

  •                             "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