Definition of tidy in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈtʌɪdi/

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, as neat as a new pin, orderly, well ordered, in (good) order, well kept, shipshape (and Bristol fashion), in apple-pie order, immaculate, spick and span, uncluttered, organized, well organized, well arranged, sorted out, straight, straightened out, trim, spruce
archaic tricksy
1.1Inclined 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.
smart, spruce, dapper, trim, neat, well groomed, well turned out;
organized, well organized, methodical, systematic, efficient, meticulous;
informal natty
dated as if one had just stepped out of a bandbox
archaic trig
1.2Neat 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, sizeable, considerable, substantial, significant, appreciable, handsome, generous, ample, respectable, largish, biggish, fair, decent, decent-sized, healthy;
Scottish & Northern English  bonny
informal not to be sneezed at, serious
archaic goodly
2.1Used as a general term of approval: City have the backbone of a tidy side
More example sentences
  • The former Biggar player's tidy performance encapsulated the discipline and focus of a side which had a well-constructed gameplan and which stuck to it as well as they have all year.

noun (plural tidies)

1 (also tidy-up) [in singular] British An act or spell of tidying something: she’s coming to give his house its Saturday morning tidy
More example sentences
  • Several tons of rubbish were cleaned from houses during the tidy-up.
  • Rain stopped play on the garage painting project late in the afternoon, so Graham shifted his attention to the inside, doing a major tidy-up on the garage and on his workshop at the back end.
  • Many parents of teenagers know all about bedrooms needing a good tidy-up, but how many would require a full-scale archaeological dig?
2 [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.
3chiefly US A detachable ornamental cover for a chair back.

verb (tidies, tidying, tidied)

[with object]
1Bring 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, put to rights, straighten (out), make shipshape, clean, clean up, spruce up
informal dejunk
groom oneself, spruce oneself up, freshen oneself up, preen oneself, primp oneself, prink oneself, pretty oneself, beautify oneself
informal titivate oneself, doll oneself up
British informal tart oneself up
archaic plume oneself, trig oneself
1.1 (tidy something away) Put something away for the sake of neatness: I was tidying away papers in my office
More example sentences
  • Well no-one rang, so we tidied some papers away and had a cup of tea.
  • After tidying the stuff away I popped up to see P and she seemed really well.
  • Mention has already been made of using Velcro loops to tidy the wiring away.



Pronunciation: /ˈtʌɪdɪli/
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 'skilful'; 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

Line breaks: tidy

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