September 20, 2013
- neat (adjective)
- What does it mean?
- 1 : being orderly and clean : tidy2 : marked by tasteful simplicity3 : having or showing great skill or cleverness4 : excellent in quality or appearance : splendid
- How do you use it?
- After years of sharing a room with her sloppy sister, Jessica is looking forward to spending time in a neat, organized room that's all her own.
- Are you a word wiz?
Which one of these statements about "neat" do you think is true?If you picked B, that's neat! About 450 years ago, "neat" was borrowed into English from the French word "net," meaning "bright, shining." "The French word was adopted from Latin "nitidus" which has the same meaning and which traces back to "nitere," "to shine." At first English "neat" carried the same meaning, as in "a neat new metal pin," but later the senses of "tidy" and "tastefully simple" developed. Since these later uses suggest something that is viewed as ideal or admirable, it is easy to understand that they should lead to the modern sense that means "splendid."