Originally Posted by codeone
No did not miss the main point. Most people and electricians do not understand what the GROUNDED CONDUCTOR is, They call it a neutral in the industry, however it is almost never neutral, only in multiwire circuits can it be neutral. It is a CURRENT carrying conductor that is bonded to the Ground in the main service. The NEC recognizes it and calls it a Grounded Circuit Conductor. Neutral implies that it does not carry current. If it did not carry current and shorted to the equipment grounding conductor it would not trip a breaker or blow a fuse.
As taken from NEC 2008
2008 NEC—Article 100
Neutral Conductor. The conductor connected to the neutral point of a system that is intended to carry current under normal conditions.
Neutral Point. The common point on a wye-connection in a polyphase system or midpoint on a single-phase, 3-wire system, or midpoint of a single-phase portion of a 3-phase delta system, or a midpoint of a 3-wire, direct current system.
FPN: At the neutral point of the system, the vectorial sum of the nominal voltages from all other phases within the system that utilize the neutral, with respect to the neutral point, is zero potential.
So yes, a neutral is now defined by the NEC!