September 21, 2018
neat (adjective)
\NEET\ Hear it!
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?
"The village of Ch'ulp'o faced the sea, its back to the mountains and the river edging it like a neat seam." (Linda Sue Park, _A Single Shard_)
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."
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