Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


It was the neatest, best-stored Ritualistic cupboard in Bumsteadville.

She fastened his collar and arranged his tie in the neatest of bows.

This is one of the neatest plants of this structure in our woods.

Page after page of the neatest of minute figures, not a blot, not a blur, not an erasure.

One of the neatest wishes of this kind is in a Greek epigram.

"It's going to be one of the neatest tricks of the week," he said.

It has never been so translated as to reproduce its neatest bit of fancy.

Little Polly was the smallest, the neatest, and the dearest of the sprawling band.

This should be the neatest, best kept village in all Kira Barra.

"Perhaps that would be the neatest way out of it," he agreed.


1540s, "clean, free from dirt," from Anglo-French neit, Middle French net "clear, pure" (12c.), from Latin nitidus "well-favored, elegant, trim," literally "gleaming," from nitere "to shine," from PIE root *nei- "to shine" (cf. Middle Irish niam "gleam, splendor," niamda "shining;" Old Irish noib "holy," niab "strength;" Welsh nwyfiant "gleam, splendor").

Meaning "inclined to be tidy" is from 1570s. Of liquor, "straight," c.1800, from meaning "unadulterated" (of wine), which is first attested 1570s. Informal sense of "very good" first recorded 1934 in American English; variant neato is teenager slang, first recorded 1968. Related: Neatly; neatness.