"Neat" discoveries

< Previous | Next >

Dennis Moore

Senior Member
Spanish - Spain
In the following text:

"Despite these setbacks, Ken did contribute to an understanding of the apparently innate human capacity for speech. He made a number of what he called 'neat' discoveries about the structure of language, and had an instinctive sense of what all languages had in common. After his retirement from MIT, he said he would 'really get down to work; an ambition he was unable to achieve, though his other achievements were considerable."

What is the meaning of the word "neat"? The inverted commas are on the original text.

Thank you very much for your help!
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    The inverted commas show this is probably sense 6 in our dictionary:

    slang chiefly US Canadian good; pleasing; admirable

    The boyish slang word is out of place in a serious topic like this, so it's presumably quoting what Ken Hale himself called them. (I'm confident this is about the great Ken Hale, but you need to give us the source title and author for anything you quote.)
     

    Dennis Moore

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Spain
    Yes, it is indeed about Kenneth Hale. It comes from this text that appears on the Complete CAE handbook. Apparently, it was adapted from an original article on The Economist.

    So basically it would be pretty similar to saying "cool discoveries", right?
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    The inverted commas show this is probably sense 6 in our dictionary:

    slang chiefly US Canadian good; pleasing; admirable

    The boyish slang word is out of place in a serious topic like this, so it's presumably quoting what Ken Hale himself called them. (I'm confident this is about the great Ken Hale, but you need to give us the source title and author for anything you quote.)
    I would add that "neat" is somewhat outdated, having been replaced by "cool."
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top