[net] n [ME nett, fr. OE; akin to OHG nezzi net] (bef. 12c) 1 a: an open-meshed fabric twisted, knotted, or woven together at regular intervals b: something made of net: as (1): a device for catching fish, birds, or insects (2): a fabric barricade which divides a court in half (as in tennis or volleyball) and over which a ball or shuttlecock must be hit to be in play (3): the fabric that encloses the sides and back of the goal in various games (as soccer or hockey)
2: an entrapping device or situation "caught in the ~ of suspicious circumstances"
3: something resembling a net in reticulation (as of lines, fibers, or figures)
4. a: a group of communications stations operating under unified control b: network
4. -- net.less adj -- net.like adj -- net.ty adj
net vt net.ted ; net.ting (1593) 1: to cover or enclose with or as if with a net
2: to catch in or as if in a net
3: to cover with or as if with a network
4. a: to hit (a ball) into the net for the loss of a point in a racket game b: to hit (a ball or puck) into the goal for a score (as in hockey or soccer) -- net.ter n net adj [ME, clean, bright, fr. MF--more at neat] (15c) 1: free from all charges or deductions: as a: remaining after the deduction of all charges, outlay, or loss "~ earnings" "~ worth"--compare gross b: excluding all tare "~ weight"
2: excluding all nonessential considerations: basic, final "the ~ result" "~ effect" net vt net.ted ; net.ting (1758) 1 a: to receive by way of profit: clear b: to produce by way of profit: yield
2: to get possession of: gain net n (ca. 1904) 1: a net amount, profit, weight, or price
2: the score of a golfer in a handicap match after deducting his handicap from his gross
3: essence, gist