Definition of tidy in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈtīdē/

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.
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.
neat, trim, spruce, dapper, well groomed, organized, well organized, methodical, meticulous;
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.
large, sizable, considerable, substantial, generous, significant, appreciable, handsome, respectable, ample, decent, goodly

noun (plural tidies)

1 [usually with modifier] A receptacle for holding small objects or waste scraps: a cable tidy
More example sentences
  • As we look down the inside length of the unit, on the left hand side at the rear is a nice cable tidy, to keep the power leads out of your way.
  • Disposing of the tub in the kitchen tidy, she searched the lounge room for her mobile phone and wallet.
  • 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]
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.
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
informal titivate oneself



Pronunciation: /ˈtīdilē/
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.


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.

Words that rhyme with tidy

bona fide, Heidi, mala fide, vide

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ti·dy

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

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