Share this entry

Share this page

tidy

Syllabification: ti·dy
Pronunciation: /ˈtīdē
 
/

Definition of tidy in English:

adjective (tidier, tidiest)

1Arranged neatly and in order: his scrupulously tidy apartment figurative the lives they lead don’t fit into tidy patterns
More example sentences
  • When I sit down on empty days like this and wonder what to do with myself I think mostly of tidy roses and neatly mown lawns.
  • The hippie girls, Kelly and Mollie, finally moved off the island and out of the trailer, and now have a tidy apartment up in the 80s.
  • By the day of the party, Rowena and Sammy were entirely unpacked, the apartment was tidy, and the food preparations were on schedule.
Synonyms
neat, neat and tidy, orderly, well ordered, in (good) order, well kept, shipshape, in apple-pie order, immaculate, spick and span, uncluttered, straight, trim, spruce
1.1(Of a person) inclined to keep things or one’s appearance neat and in order: she was a tidy little girl
More example sentences
  • If you wore slacks you were almost certainly a member of the golf club, you were neat and tidy and smart, you were destined for a middling job, an early marriage and early middle age.
  • Yet this girl, with a meticulously tidy mother and accountant father, was a walking bomb site who couldn't add up.
  • After the third knock a charming and tidy gentleman appeared at the front door.
Synonyms
neat, trim, spruce, dapper, well groomed, organized, well organized, methodical, meticulous;
fastidious
informal natty
1.2Not messy; neat and controlled: he wrote down her replies in a small, tidy hand
More example sentences
  • He has a tidy action and excellent control over his line and length.
  • Bassett keeps these feelings just below the surface, letting the viewer watch as she struggles to maintain her tidy life in control.
  • The results move straight into a very tidy profit and loss account, balance sheet and cash flow statement, followed by cleanly presented notes.
2 [attributive] informal (Of an amount, especially of money) considerable: the book will bring in a tidy sum
More example sentences
  • You could join the thieves guild and make quite a tidy bit of money.
  • He put a tidy amount on at 40-1 and picked up a four-figure sum.
  • We deferred almost all our household spending for six months and thus earned a tidy amount of extra interest.
Synonyms
large, sizable, considerable, substantial, generous, significant, appreciable, handsome, respectable, ample, decent, goodly

noun (plural tidies)

Back to top  
1 [usually with modifier] A receptacle for holding small objects or waste scraps: a cable tidy
More example sentences
  • The pen tidy in question wasn't a container, it was a lump of something jellified with holes in so that you had to choose which pen fitted which hole and then rearrange them like flowers or pineapple chunks on sticks in a grapefruit.
  • Indeed, almost as wide and as deep as the car it sits on, the slide-and-tilt sunroof is so spectacularly capacious that the interior could, given a wicker chair or two and a magazine tidy, usefully double as a conservatory.
  • Cables are the bane of any globetrotting geek's life, and while there seems to be no perfect solution to the misery of self-knotting spaghetti, I am taken with the ease and simplicity of the magnetic cable tidies.
2chiefly US another term for antimacassar.

verb (tidies, tidying, tidied)

[with object] Back to top  
Bring order to; arrange neatly: the boys have finally tidied their bedroom figurative the bill is intended to tidy up the law on this matter [no object]: I’ll just go and tidy up
More example sentences
  • When she arrived, Sam brought her to his workstation where they chatted while he tidied his desk.
  • Thinking they were arguing, she continued vacuum cleaning and tidying the rest of the house.
  • The wells in the old graveyard are being tidied up and cleaned for the day.
Synonyms
put in order, clear up, sort out, straighten (up), declutter, clean up, spruce up
groom oneself, spruce oneself up, freshen oneself up, smarten oneself up

Origin

Middle English: from the noun tide + -y1. The original meaning was 'timely, opportune'; it later had various senses expressing approval, usually of a person, including 'attractive', 'healthy', and 'skillful'; the sense 'orderly, neat' dates from the early 18th century.

Derivatives

tidily

1
adverb
Example sentences
  • Patients unfortunate enough to expire did so tidily tucked up in bed.
  • He is described as white, in his late 30s to early 40s, with short, dark neat hair and tidily dressed.
  • So, like the pressing need in the US for some certainty in a lot of things, they tried to wrap it as tidily as possible.

tidiness

2
noun
Example sentences
  • On the other hand, as a devoted lover of order and tidiness, Karen can't stand Sam's slovenly ways.
  • Aspects such as trees, hedgerows, structures such as bridges, houses and field entrances and general tidiness will all form part of the criteria for the competition.
  • The stretch took in all the houses, and the judges considered their presentation, decoration, tidiness and cleanliness, as well as the hedgerows on the side of the road.

Words that rhyme with tidy

bona fide, Heidi, mala fide, vide

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day emulous
Pronunciation: ˈɛmjʊləs
adjective
seeking to emulate someone or something