neat and ingenious

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Senior Member
Hi all,
I have a couple of question of neat and ingenious.When I consult with dictionary, I 've got something like "skillful" of the meaning respectively.So, are they interchangeable in this sense?would you tell the different between
1. neat handiworkb / ingenious handiwork
2. She is neat worker / She is ingenious worker
and I also do the searching in yahoo, it came out 178,000,000 result of "neat" and 39,900,000 of "ingenious", is "neat" more often be used in common speak ? (in term of meaning "skillful")( by the way ,"skillfull" only came out 737,000 result)
Thank in advance!
  • Suspishio

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The meanings of "neat" and "ingenious" are different. Thus the only inference I would draw from the Yahoo hits (taking your search criteria for granted) is that more people do "neat" work than "ingenious" work.

    That fits - there are more diligent workers than there are geniouses.

    On the question of "skillful", here you have a loose synonym for "neat" and the comparative statistic tells me that people prefer the term "neat" to "skillful". It could be that spelling of could be the problem - you spelt it in two different ways!

    Last edited:


    English - South Africa
    No. Neat means tidy or organised. Ingenious means intelligent or clever. So the two certainly aren't interchangeable.

    In your example: a neat worker is someone who works tidily, and orderly. Perhaps more colloquially it could mean that the worker is cool.

    An ingenious worker on the other hand is someone who is innovative, clever or perhaps even revolutionary.

    Harry Batt

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Americans use "neat" as their universal adjective meaning "good." "I bought a neat used car. The dealer had dropped the price $500 the morning that I saw it. Neat, huh? Reply: You mean there was nothing wrong with it? I took it to a mechanic and he couldn't find anything out of line. Reply: Well, that is neat.


    Senior Member
    English, UK
    However in the American phrase, "That's a neat trick", which shows admiration for something deemed to be clever, neat is a synonym of ingenious. The Welsh say "That's tidy!" for the same idea.
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