adjective, ti·di·er, ti·di·est.

verb (used with or without object), ti·died, ti·dy·ing.

to make tidy or neat (often followed by up).

noun, plural ti·dies.

any of various articles for keeping things tidy, as a box having small drawers and compartments.
an antimacassar.

Origin of tidy

1200–50; Middle English tidi, tidy seasonable, hence good; cognate with Dutch tijdig. See tide1, -y1
Related formsti·di·ly, adverbti·di·ness, noun

Antonyms for tidy

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tidily

Contemporary Examples of tidily

  • The swarthy, slender, tidily groomed ex-AT&T salesman from Oklahoma appeared calm as the verdicts were read.

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    June 22, 2011

  • You know that he must have been a tormented genius, or one for whom everything clicked as tidily as a safety pin.

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    April 11, 2011

Historical Examples of tidily

  • Hen, it's up to you to wash all the dishes, and to do it tidily, too.

  • She rose from her seat, and put them all tidily away on a side-table.

  • They were tidily piled in lines side by side at the forward end of the waggon.

  • He dined with Captain Fitz Roy, and ate his dinner as tidily as formerly.

  • A few ravelling threads of this our desultory tale have yet to be gathered up, as tidily as may be.


    Martin Farquhar Tupper

British Dictionary definitions for tidily


adjective -dier or -diest

characterized by or indicating neatness and order
informal considerablea tidy sum of money

verb -dies, -dying or -died

(when intr, usually foll by up) to put (things) in order; neaten

noun plural -dies

  1. a small container in which odds and ends are kept
  2. sink tidya container with holes in the bottom, kept in the sink to retain rubbish that might clog the plug hole
mainly US and Canadian an ornamental protective covering for the back or arms of a chair
Derived Formstidily, adverbtidiness, noun

Word Origin for tidy

C13 (in the sense: timely, seasonable, excellent): from tide 1 + -y 1; related to Dutch tijdig timely
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 tidily



mid-13c., probably originally "in season, timely, opportune, excellent," from tide in the sense of "season, time" (see tide). Cf. Old High German zitig, German zeitig, Dutch tijdig, Danish tidig "timely." Meaning "neat and in order" first recorded 1706.



"to make neat, set in order," 1821, from tidy (adj.). Related: Tidied; tidying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper