neither


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a whistling woman and a crowing hen are neither fit for God nor men

It is not proper for a woman to engage in overtly masculine behavior. My grandmother is legitimately worried because I asked a boy to the dance, instead of him asking me. She says that a whistling woman and a crowing hen are neither fit for God nor men—whatever that means.
See also: and, crow, fit, god, hen, men, neither, nor, whistle, woman

be neither fish nor fowl

To be difficult to describe or definitively categorize. What genre of music is this? It's neither fish nor fowl to me.
See also: fish, fowl, neither, nor

be neither one thing nor the other

To be an unappealing combination of two very different things. A: "I thought you liked country and jazz." B: "I do, and that's why this band is so disappointing—it's neither one thing nor the other."
See also: neither, nor, one, other, thing

have neither chick nor child

To be without children. The fact the I have neither chick nor child means I am able to travel wherever I want, whenever I want. It took me a while to come to terms with having neither chick nor child at my age, but I'm at peace with it now.
See also: chick, child, have, neither, nor

if you run after two hares, you will catch neither

If you try to do two things at once, you will fail. You can't look for that file and dictate a message at the same time. Didn't your mother ever tell you that if you run after two hares, you will catch neither?
See also: after, catch, if, neither, run, two, will

me neither

I also would not or do not. A: "I really don't care for strawberry ice cream." B: "Ugh, me neither!" A: "I wouldn't be caught dead wearing a dress like that." B: "Me neither."
See also: neither

neither a borrower nor a lender be

Try to live your life without incurring debt from or accruing the debt of others, or else you risk spoiling your relationships with other people. Taken from Shakespeare's Hamlet, offered as advice by the character Polonius to his son, Laertes. My dad always taught me to earn my own way, to never ask for financial help or hang around those who seek that help from me. Neither a borrower nor a lender be, that was his motto.
See also: neither, nor

neither can (one)

One is also incapable of doing something. A: "The crowd is screaming so much I can't even hear the band!" B: "Neither can I—let's get out of here." A: "I can't believe Janet's bosses would do something like that to her." B: "Yeah, neither could she."
See also: can, neither

neither does (one)

One also does not. A: "I really don't like pineapple on pizza." B: "Blech, neither do I." A: "How will you get work? You don't have your high school diploma!" B: "Neither do a lot of billionaires!"
See also: does, neither

neither fish nor flesh

Neither one thing nor another; not belonging to any suitable class or description; not recognizable or characteristic of any one particular thing. We require a solution that directly deals with the issue at hand, but what the chancellor has put forward is, to my mind, neither fish nor flesh.
See also: fish, flesh, neither, nor

neither fish nor fowl

Neither one thing nor another; not belonging to any suitable class or description; not recognizable or characteristic of any one particular thing. We require a solution that directly deals with the issue at hand, but the proposal that has been put forward is, to my mind, neither fish nor fowl.
See also: fish, fowl, neither, nor

neither fish, flesh, nor fowl

Neither one thing nor another; not belonging to any suitable class or description; not recognizable or characteristic of any one particular thing. We require a solution that directly deals with the issue at hand, but what the chancellor has put forward is, to my mind, neither fish, flesh nor fowl.
See also: fowl, neither, nor

neither fish, flesh, nor good red herring

obsolete Not belonging to any suitable class of thing; unfit for any purpose or to be used by anyone. This older phrase appeared in a 16th-century proverb collection, where fish refers to food for monks (who abstained from meat), flesh refers to food for the general populace, and "good red herring" refers to inexpensive fish that would have been food for the poor. With crime as it is in this township, the law must be aggressive and dependable; unfortunately, the new constable is neither fish, flesh, nor good red herring.
See also: good, herring, neither, nor, red

neither here nor there

Irrelevant or unimportant; having no bearing upon the current situation. Charlie's personal activities are neither here nor there. All that matters is his performance in the job.
See also: here, neither, nor, there

neither hide nor hair

No trace or evidence of someone or something. I don't know where Mike went. I've seen neither hide nor hair of him all day.
See also: hair, hide, neither, nor

neither rhyme nor reason

No particular logic, sense, method, or meaning of a given situation, action, person, thing, group, etc. I've looked over it several times, but there's neither rhyme nor reason to the agreement we were sent this morning.
See also: neither, nor, reason, rhyme

If you run after two hares, you will catch neither.

Prov. You cannot do two things successfully at the same time. Vanessa: If I want to pursue my acting career, I'll have to take more days off to go to auditions. But I want to get ahead in the office, too. Jane: If you run after two hares, you will catch neither.
See also: after, catch, if, neither, run, two, will

Neither a borrower nor a lender be.

Prov. It is difficult to be friends with someone who owes you money or with someone to whom you owe something, so it is better not to borrow or lend in the first place. After losing several of my favorite books because I didn't have the nerve to insist that my friends return them, I learned that it is best to neither a borrower nor a lender be.
See also: neither, nor

Neither can I

 
1. I cannot do that either. (Any subject pronoun can be used in place of I.) Bill: No matter what they do to them, I just can't stand sweet potatoes! Bob: Neither can I. John: Let's go. I cannot tolerate the smoke in here. Jane: Neither can I.
See also: can, neither

neither does someone

[does] not either. Susan does not own a cat, and neither does Mary. Bill doesn't want to see a movie tonight, and neither do I.
See also: does, neither

neither fish nor fowl

Cliché not any recognizable thing. The car that they drove up in was neither fish nor fowl. It must have been made out of spare parts. This proposal is neither fish nor fowl. I can't tell what you're proposing.
See also: fish, fowl, neither, nor

neither here nor there

Cliché of no consequence or meaning; irrelevant and immaterial. Whether you go to the movie or stay at home is neither here nor there. Your comment—though interesting—is neither here nor there.
See also: here, neither, nor, there

*neither rhyme nor reason

Cliché without logic, order, or planning. (Describes something disorganized. *Typically: be ~; have ~.) There seems to be neither rhyme nor reason to Gerald's filing system. The novel's plot had neither rhyme nor reason.
See also: neither, nor, reason, rhyme

hide nor hair, neither

Also, hide or hair. No trace of something lost or missing. For example, I haven't seen hide nor hair of the children. This expression alludes to the entire outer coat of an animal. [Mid-1800s]
See also: hide, neither, nor

neither fish nor fowl

Also, neither fish nor flesh; neither fish, flesh, nor fowl. Not one or the other, not something fitting any category under discussion. For example, They felt he was neither fish nor fowl-not qualified to lead the department, yet not appropriate to work as a staff member either . This expression appeared in slightly different form in John Heywood's 1546 proverb collection ("Neither fish, nor flesh, nor good red herring") and is thought to allude to food for monks ( fish, because they abstained from meat), for the people ( flesh, or meat), and for the poor ( red herring, a very cheap fish).
See also: fish, fowl, neither, nor

neither here nor there

Unimportant, irrelevant, as in You pay for the movie and I'll get the dinner check, or vice versa-it's neither here nor there . This expression was first recorded in 1583. Also see beside the point.
See also: here, neither, nor, there

rhyme or reason, no

An absence of common sense or reasonableness, as in This memo has no rhyme or reason. Closely related variants are without rhyme or reason, as in The conclusion of her paper was without rhyme or reason, and neither rhyme nor reason, as in Neither rhyme nor reason will explain that lawyer's objections. This term originated in French about 1475 and began to be used in English about a century later. Sir Thomas More is credited with saying of a mediocre book that a friend had put into verse, "Now it is somewhat, for now it is rhyme; whereas before it was neither rhyme nor reason."
See also: no, rhyme

neither fish nor fowl

If something or someone is neither fish nor fowl, they are difficult to identify or understand, because they seem partly like one thing and partly like another. Brunel's vessel was neither fish nor fowl: a passenger liner too ugly and dirty to offer much beyond novelty value. In the American sports press, this athlete is neither fish nor fowl, neither American nor entirely foreign. Note: People occasionally replace fish with flesh. She didn't look one of anything to Oatsie, neither flesh nor fowl, neither idiot nor intellectual. Note: `Fowl' is an old-fashioned word for a hen or other bird.
See also: fish, fowl, neither, nor

neither here nor there

SPOKEN
COMMON If something is neither here nor there, it is completely unimportant and does not affect the situation in any way. He was a good man as it turned out, but that's neither here nor there. You know, five hundred pounds is neither here nor there to most of them.
See also: here, neither, nor, there

neither chick nor child

no children at all. North American or dialect
See also: chick, child, neither, nor

neither fish nor fowl (nor good red herring)

of indefinite character and difficult to identify or classify.
This expression arose with reference to dietary laws formerly laid down by the Church during periods of fasting or abstinence.
See also: fish, fowl, neither, nor

neither here nor there

of no importance or relevance.
1993 Independent on Sunday The fact that American audiences haven't recognised it as a great film and appreciated its outstanding acting is neither here nor there.
See also: here, neither, nor, there

neither hide nor hair of someone

not the slightest trace of someone.
See also: hair, hide, neither, nor, of, someone

neither ˌfish nor ˈfowl

neither one thing nor another: Graduate teaching assistants are neither fish nor fowl, neither completely students nor teachers.
See also: fish, fowl, neither, nor

neither ˌhere nor ˈthere

not important because it is not connected with the subject being discussed; irrelevant: The fact that she’s the director’s daughter is neither here nor there. She’s the most suitable person for the job.What might have happened is neither here nor there.
See also: here, neither, nor, there

neither fish nor fowl

Having no specific characteristics; indefinite.
See also: fish, fowl, neither, nor

neither here nor there

Unimportant and irrelevant.
See also: here, neither, nor, there

neither fish, flesh, nor fowl

Not one or the other; not fitting any category. This term dates from the sixteenth century and appeared in John Heywood’s 1546 Proverbs as “She is nother fyshe, nor fleshe, nor good red hearyng [herring].” The analogy refers to food for monks (fish), for the people (meat), and for the poor (red herring). Shakespeare also used the term; when Falstaff insults Mistress Quickly, he says she’s an otter because “She’s neither fish nor flesh; a man knows not where to have her” (Henry IV, Part 1, 3.3).
See also: fowl, neither, nor

neither here nor there

Irrelevant, unimportant. This term dates from the sixteenth century, appearing in Arthur Golding’s translation of Calvin (1583), “Our so dooing is neither here nor there (as they say),” as well as in Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, Othello, and elsewhere.
See also: here, neither, nor, there

neither hide nor hair

Nothing; no part of something. The term, which dates from Chaucer’s time, alludes to the fact that the outside of an animal is made up of hide and hair, which therefore constitute its entirety. The negative version, nearly always meaning that something or someone cannot be seen or found, became common in the mid-nineteenth century. “I haven’t seen hide nor hair of the piece,” wrote Josiah G. Holland (The Bay-Path, 1857).
See also: hair, hide, neither, nor

neither rhyme nor reason

No sense whatever. This term dates from the fifteenth century, when an unknown French writer wrote, En toy ne Ryme ne Raison (“In you neither rhyme nor reason,” Maistre Pierre Pathelin, ca. 1475). Sir Thomas More is credited with the following remark made to a friend who had put into verse a mediocre book: “Yea, marry, now it is somewhat, for now it is rhyme; whereas before it was neither rhyme nor reason.” The term made it into John Ray’s proverb collection of 1678 and is by no means obsolete.
See also: neither, nor, reason, rhyme

neither fish nor fowl

Having no specific characteristics or category, not easily characterized. The phrase, which was originally “neither fish nor flesh nor fowl,” appeared in slightly different form in a 16th-century collection of proverbs as “neither fish, nor flesh, nor good red herring”: fish for monks who ate no meat, flesh for people who could afford meat, and cheap herring for the poor. The phrase is reminiscent of the old riddle: What is neither fish nor flesh, feathers nor bone/but still has fingers and thumbs of its own? Answer: a glove.
See also: fish, fowl, neither, nor

neither rhyme nor reason

Making no sense at all. “Rhyme” alludes to poetry and by extension all of the creative arts, while “reason” stands for intellect. Accordingly, something that can't be understood or justified in terms of either artistic merit or logic is indeed of little value.
See also: neither, nor, reason, rhyme
References in classic literature ?
Neither in the case of contraries, nor in the case of correlatives, nor in the case of 'positives' and 'privatives', is it necessary for one to be true and the other false.
For if Socrates exists, one will be true and the other false, but if he does not exist, both will be false; for neither 'Socrates is ill' nor 'Socrates is well' is true, if Socrates does not exist at all.
In the case of 'positives' and 'privatives', if the subject does not exist at all, neither proposition is true, but even if the subject exists, it is not always the fact that one is true and the other false.
Neither must we have mothers under the influence of the poets scaring their children with a bad version of these myths--telling how certain gods, as they say, `Go about by night in the likeness of so many strangers and in divers forms'; but let them take heed lest they make cowards of their children, and at the same time speak blasphemy against the gods.
The gods are not magicians who transform themselves, neither do they deceive mankind in any way.
Then, although we are admirers of Homer, we do not admire the lying dream which Zeus sends to Agamemnon; neither will we praise the verses of Aeschylus in which Thetis says that Apollo at her nuptials
These are the kind of sentiments about the gods which will arouse our anger; and he who utters them shall be refused a chorus; neither shall we allow teachers to make use of them in the instruction of the young, meaning, as we do, that our guardians, as far as men can be, should be true worshippers of the gods and like them.
They are so perpetually alarmed with the apprehensions of these, and the like impending dangers, that they can neither sleep quietly in their beds, nor have any relish for the common pleasures and amusements of life.
The proposed Constitution, therefore, is, in strictness, neither a national nor a federal Constitution, but a composition of both.
"I do not know what manner of grievance you hold against my good friend here, nor neither do I care.
Neither side knew which way his power might be turned, for Norman of Torn had preyed almost equally upon royalist and insurgent.
Yet here, tonight, we have seen them doing highly trained feats together, and neither a cat committed one hostile or overt act against a rat, nor ever a rat showed it was afraid of a cat.
Well, now I am neither woman, poet, nor pretender: I neither love nor hate monsieur le surintendant.
The writers have disclosed neither their names nor the names of the banks.
Steven Lewis Simpson adapted the bestselling novel Neither Wolf Nor Dog, which details a road trip through contemporary Native American life, to film in 2016.