in a very <neat> car

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Senior Member
Here are some words from the novel Lady Chatterley's Lover(page 28, Chapter Two) by DH Lawrence (planetebook,here):
(background: Clifford invited Michaelis to Wragby for his reputation. ……)

Michaelis arrived duly, in a very neat car, with a chauffeur and a manservant. He was absolutely Bond Street! But at the sight of him something in Clifford's county soul recoiled. He wasn't exactly. . . not exactly. . .in fact, he wasn't at all, well, what his appearance intended to imply.

Neat is likely to refer to wonderul/terrific/beautiful, high-qualitied, and clean.

Which one is fit for the context please?
Thank you in advance
  • wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    In the 1920s, many cars had tops which folded down and detachable windows of perspex or similar in a fabric frame which you clipped into place when putting up the hood (the top). All this paraphernalia could easily become loose or messy with bits sticking out here and there.

    Michealis' car, by contrast, was evidently well kept, clean and tidy.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    The WordReference dictionary includes lots of other plausible synonyms, such as
    in a pleasingly orderly and clean condition
    having a trim and graceful appearance, shape, style, etc.

    Words do not always mean one thing and one thing only, and I think it is artificial to restrict the scope of "neat" in this case.


    Senior Member
    English - British
    If the writer had wished to use a more precise term, I am sure he could have thought of one and written it down.
    However, when translating, it can easily happen that there is no expression in the target language which has the same degree of vagueness.
    In that case, the translator has no choice but to select one meaning as most likely or typical.


    Senior Member
    Do you have a word for "well-cared for", "well-kept", or "well-looked after"? Those words have more of a similar meaning to "neat" than "beautiful" have.
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