[noo-truhl, nyoo-]
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  1. not taking part or giving assistance in a dispute or war between others: a neutral nation during World War II.
  2. not aligned with or supporting any side or position in a controversy: The arbitrator was absolutely neutral.
  3. of or belonging to a neutral state or party: neutral territory.
  4. of no particular kind, characteristics, etc.; indefinite: a neutral personality that made no impression whatever; a sex-neutral job title.
  5. (of a color or shade)
    1. gray; without hue; of zero chroma; achromatic.
    2. matching well with many or most other colors or shades, as white or beige.
  6. Botany, Zoology. neuter.
  7. not causing or reflecting a change in something: It is believed that the new tax law will be revenue neutral.
  8. Chemistry. exhibiting neither acid nor alkaline qualities: neutral salts.
  9. Physics.
    1. (of a particle) having no charge.
    2. (of an atom, molecule, collection of particles, fluid, or solid) having no net charge; electroneutral; not electrified.
    3. not magnetized.
  10. Phonetics. (of a vowel) pronounced with the tongue relaxed in a central position, as the a in alive; reduced.
  1. a person or a nation that remains neutral, as in a controversy or war.
  2. a citizen of a neutral nation during a war.
  3. Machinery, Automotive. the position or state of disengaged gears or other interconnecting parts: in neutral.
  4. a neutral color.

Origin of neutral

1400–50; late Middle English < Latin neutrālis grammatically neuter. See neuter, -al1
Related formsneu·tral·ly, adverban·ti·neu·tral, adjective, nounan·ti·neu·tral·ly, adverbnon·neu·tral, adjective, nounnon·neu·tral·ly, adverbqua·si-neu·tral, adjectivequa·si-neu·tral·ly, adverbsem·i·neu·tral, adjectiveun·neu·tral, adjectiveun·neu·tral·ly, adverb

Synonyms for neutral

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for neutral

Contemporary Examples of neutral

Historical Examples of neutral

British Dictionary definitions for neutral


  1. not siding with any party to a war or dispute
  2. of, belonging to, or appropriate to a neutral party, country, etcneutral land
  3. of no distinctive quality, characteristics, or type; indifferent
  4. (of a colour such as white or black) having no hue; achromatic
  5. (of a colour) dull, but harmonizing with most other colours
  6. a less common term for neuter (def. 2)
  7. chem neither acidic nor alkaline
  8. physics having zero charge or potential
  9. rare having no magnetism
  10. phonetics (of a vowel) articulated with the tongue relaxed in mid-central position and the lips midway between spread and roundedthe word ``about'' begins with a neutral vowel
  1. a neutral person, nation, etc
  2. a citizen of a neutral state
  3. the position of the controls of a gearbox that leaves the transmission disengaged
Derived Formsneutrally, adverb

Word Origin for neutral

C16: from Latin neutrālis; see neuter
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for neutral

late 15c., "composed of contrasting elements which, in proper proportion, neutralize each other," from Middle French neutral, from Latin neutralis "of neuter gender," from neuter (see neuter (adj.)). Chemistry sense is from 1660s. Sense of "not taking sides in a fight" (1540s) probably is from a similar meaning in Medieval Latin. Of colors, from 1821. Neutral corner is from boxing (1908).


mid-15c., "one who remains neutral," from Latin neutralis "of neuter gender," (see neutral (adj.)). Meaning "disengaged position in gear mechanisms" is from 1912.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

neutral in Medicine


  1. Belonging to neither kind; not one thing or the other; indifferent.
  2. Of or relating to a solution or compound that is neither acidic nor alkaline.
  3. Of or relating to a compound that does not ionize in solution.
  4. Of or relating to a particle, object, or system that has a net electric charge of zero.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

neutral in Science


  1. Neither acid nor alkaline.
  2. Having no inherent or net charge, especially electric charge.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.