Definitions

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

  • adjective Neither masculine nor feminine in gender.
  • adjective Neither active nor passive; intransitive. Used of verbs.
  • adjective Having undeveloped or nonfunctional sexual organs.
  • adjective Having pistils and stamens that are nonfunctional or absent.
  • adjective Castrated or spayed. Used of animals.
  • adjective Androgynous or asexual.
  • adjective Archaic Taking no side in a dispute; neutral.
  • noun The neuter gender.
  • noun A neuter word.
  • noun A neuter noun.
  • noun An androgynous or asexual person.
  • noun A castrated animal.
  • noun An insect that has undeveloped or nonfunctional sexual organs, such as a worker bee.
  • noun Archaic One that is neutral in a dispute.
  • transitive verb To castrate or spay.
  • transitive verb To render ineffective or powerless.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Neither the one thing nor the other; not adhering to either party; taking no part with either side, as in a contention or discussion; neutral.
  • In gram.:
  • Of neither gender; neither masculine nor feminine: used when words are grammatically or formally distinguished as masculine, feminine, and neuter—a distinction made in English only in the pronouns he, she, it.
  • Neither active nor passive; intransitive. Abbreviated n. and neuter
  • In botany, same as neutral.
  • In zoology, having no fully developed sex: as, neuter bees.
  • noun A neutral.
  • noun An animal of neither sex, and incapable of propagation; one of the imperfectly developed females of certain social insects, as ants and bees, which perform all the labors of the community; a worker. See cuts under bee, Atta, and Termes.
  • noun In botany, a plant which has neither stamens nor pistils. See cut under neutral.
  • noun In grammar, a noun of the neuter gender. Abbreviated n. and neuter

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

  • adjective Archaic Neither the one thing nor the other; on neither side; impartial; neutral.
  • adjective Having a form belonging more especially to words which are not appellations of males or females; expressing or designating that which is of neither sex
  • adjective Intransitive.
  • adjective (Biol.) Having no generative organs, or imperfectly developed ones; sexless. See Neuter, n., 3.
  • noun A person who takes no part in a contest; one who is either indifferent to a cause or forbears to interfere; a neutral.
  • noun A noun of the neuter gender; any one of those words which have the terminations usually found in neuter words.
  • noun An intransitive verb.
  • noun (Biol.) An organism, either vegetable or animal, which at its maturity has no generative organs, or but imperfectly developed ones, as a plant without stamens or pistils, as the garden Hydrangea; esp., one of the imperfectly developed females of certain social insects, as of the ant and the common honeybee, which perform the labors of the community, and are called workers.
  • transitive verb To render incapable of sexual reproduction; to remove or alter the sexual organs so as to make infertile; to alter; to fix; to desex; -- in male animals, to castrate; in female animals, to spay.

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

  • adjective archaic Neither the one thing nor the other; on neither side; impartial; neutral.
  • adjective grammar Having a form belonging more especially to words which are not appellations of males or females; expressing or designating that which is of neither sex.
  • adjective grammar Intransitive
  • adjective biology Having no generative organs, or imperfectly developed ones; sexless.
  • noun grammar The neuter gender.
  • noun grammar A noun of the neuter gender; any one of those words which have the terminations usually found in neuter words.
  • noun biology An organism, either vegetable or animal, which at its maturity has no generative organs, or but imperfectly developed ones, as a plant without stamens or pistils, as the garden Hydrangea; especially, one of the imperfectly developed females of certain social insects, as of the ant and the common honeybee, which perform the labors of the community, and are called workers.
  • noun A person who takes no part in a contest; someone remaining neutral.
  • noun grammar An intransitive verb or state-of-being verb.
  • verb To remove sex organs from an animal to prevent it from having offspring; to castrate or spay, particularly as applied to domestic animals.

Etymologies

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

[Middle English neutre, from Old French, from Latin neuter, neither, neuter : ne-, not; see ne in Indo-European roots + uter, either; see kwo- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Latin, from ne ("not") + uter ("whether"); compare English whether and neither.

Examples

  • When the perfect participle of an _intransitive_ verb is joined to the neuter verb _to be_, the combination is not a passive verb, but a _neuter_ verb in a _passive form_; as, "He _is gone_;

    English Grammar in Familiar Lectures

  • If I remain neuter, and give no answer should the subject of the notes be broachd by Mr Hood; that silence will give consent.

    Letter 62

  • From the word neuter, which means neither, hence the term may be defined as one which is not a part of either, or does not take up with either side.

    Aeroplanes

  • A quick aside: my Fr/Eng dictionary gives these words for "neuter" - chatrer and couper (ouch!)

    chatrer - French Word-A-Day

  • A quick aside: my Fr/Eng dictionary gives these words for "neuter" - chatrer and couper ouch!

    chatrer - French Word-A-Day

  • Regarding the use of “millenniums,” it’s also a feature of language that irregularities regularize, and since we have almost no one left anymore who knows Latin, it’s to be expected that we will not retain Latin neuter plural endings in lieu of the predominate English “s” plural pattern.

    A statinator speaks | The Blog of Michael R. Eades, M.D.

  • Verbs called neuter are used in the imperative mood; and, as this mood commands some one to _do_ something, any verb which adopts it, must be active.

    English Grammar in Familiar Lectures

  • The use of the feminine for the neuter is a pure Hebraism, which occurs principally in the Psalms.

    A Grammar of Septuagint Greek

  • In N.T. also and in the Apostolic Fathers the neuter is the prevailing form, e.g. 2 Tim 1: 16, 18; Tit.

    A Grammar of Septuagint Greek

  • The most important reason to neuter is to control the pet population and prevent unwanted pregnancies.

    The Seattle Times

Comments

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  • negative of uter "either of two" literally in latin

    June 22, 2007