General English

General Science

  • adjective referring to the amount remaining after all deductions have been made


  • adjective referring to a price, weight, pay, etc., after all deductions have been made
  • verb to make a true profit


  • noun the Internet, international network linking millions of computers worldwide, using telephone, cable, and satellite links


  • noun a period of play on a practice pitch in the ‘nets’; a practice session, especially a session of batting practice
    Citation ‘Willis had a brief batting net. We have given up attempts to coach him, and now leave him to his idiosyncratic ways’ (Brearley 1982)


  • After deduction. Contrasts with gross. Exactly what is deducted to get from gross to net depends on the context.


  • (written as .net)
    On the Internet, a top-level domain name suffix. The net is an abbreviation of network, although the entity employing this suffix need not be a network provider. Also called dot net.
  • A final amount or value that remains after making any necessary adjustments. For example, a net current or a net voltage.

Information & Library Science

  • adjective relating to a final amount when everything has been deducted


  • adjective remaining after money has been deducted for tax, expenses, etc.

Media Studies

  • noun a broadcasting network


  • noun a woven material made out of knotted cord, with large holes
  • noun a net used as a container (especially for underslung loads)
  • noun a group of radio users (e.g. sub-units of a battalion, company or platoon), who are transmitting and receiving on the same frequency


  • noun in some sports such as tennis and volleyball, a strip of meshwork material that divides a court into halves and over which the players must hit a ball or shuttlecock
  • noun in some sports such as football and water polo, a goal with a backing made of meshwork material
  • noun an indoor or outdoor practice pitch surrounded on three sides by nets that contain the ball after it has been hit
  • verb in games such as football and hockey, to hit the ball into the net so as to score
  • verb in games such as tennis and volleyball, to hit the ball into the net so as to lose a serve, and sometimes a point

Origin & History of “net”

English has two distinct words net. The commoner and more ancient, ‘mesh’ (OE), is a widespread Germanic word: German has the related netz, Dutch and Danish net, and Swedish nät. Its ultimate origins are not known, although a link with Latin nassa ‘wicker basket for catching fish’ has been suggested. Net ‘without deductions’ (14th c.) comes from French net, which was borrowed into English again two centuries later as neat. It was originally used, like its French source, for ‘trim, clean’, but this developed via ‘unadulterated, unmixed’ to, by the early 16th century, ‘free from any (further) deduction’. The alternative spelling nett dates from the 16th century.