nice

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See also: Nice

English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

  • nyc (non-standard)

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English nice, nyce, nys, from Old French nice, niche, nisce (simple, foolish, ignorant), from Latin nescius (ignorant, not knowing); compare nescire (to know not, be ignorant of), from ne (not) + scire (to know).

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

nice (comparative nicer, superlative nicest)

  1. (obsolete) Silly, ignorant; foolish. [14th-17th c.]
  2. (now rare) Particular in one's conduct; scrupulous, painstaking; choosy. [from 14th c.]
    • 1603, John Florio, translating Michel de Montaigne, Essays, II.2:
      There is nothing he seemed to be more carefull of than of his honesty, and observe a kinde of decencie of his person, and orderly decorum in his habits, were it on foot or on horsebacke. He was exceeding nice in performing his word or promise.
    • 1999, Joyce Crick, translating Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams, Oxford 2008, p. 83:
      But if I dispense with the dreams of neurotics, my main material, I cannot be too nice [transl. wählerisch] in my dealings with the remainder.
  3. (obsolete) Particular as regards rules or qualities; strict. [16th-19th c.]
    • 1818, Jane Austen, Persuasion:
      Good company requires only birth, education and manners, and with regard to education is not very nice. Birth and good manners are essential.
  4. Showing or requiring great precision or sensitive discernment; subtle. [from 16th c.]
    • 1914: Saki, "Laura":
      "It's her own funeral, you know," said Sir Lulworth; "it's a nice point in etiquette how far one ought to show respect to one's own mortal remains."
    • 1974, Lawrence Durrell, Monsieur, Faber & Faber 1992, p. 131:
      It would be a nice theological point to try and establish whether Ophis os Moslem or gnostic.
    • 2006, Clive James, North Face of Soho, Picador 2007, p. 242:
      Why it should have attained such longevity is a nice question.
  5. (obsolete) Doubtful, as to the outcome; risky. [16th-19th c.]
    • 1598, William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 1, IV.1:
      To set so rich a maine / On the nice hazard of one doubtfull houre? It were not good.
    • 1822, T. Creevey, Reminiscences, 28 Jul:
      It has been a damned nice thing - the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life.
  6. Respectable; virtuous. [from 18th c.]
    What is a nice person like you doing in a place like this?
  7. Pleasant, satisfactory. [from 18th c.]
    • 1998, Baha Men - Who Let the Dogs Out?
      When the party was nice, the party was jumpin' (Hey, Yippie, Yi, Yo)
    • 2008, Rachel Cooke, The Guardian, 20 Apr 2008:
      "What's difficult is when you think someone is saying something nice about you, but you're not quite sure."
  8. Of a person: friendly, attractive. [from 18th c.]
  9. With "and", having intensive effect: extremely. [from 18th c.]
    The soup is nice and hot.
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 8, Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      We toted in the wood and got the fire going nice and comfortable. Lord James still set in one of the chairs and Applegate had cabbaged the other and was hugging the stove.
Quotations[edit]
  • 1710, Jonathan Swift, The Examiner No. XIV
    I have strictly observed this rule, and my imagination this minute represents before me a certain great man famous for this talent, to the constant practice of which he owes his twenty years’ reputation of the most skilful head in England, for the management of nice affairs.
  • 1930, H.M. Walker, The Laurel-Hardy Murder Case
    Here's another nice mess you've gotten us into.
  • 1973, Cockerel Chorus, Nice One, Cyril!
    Nice one, Cyril!
Usage notes[edit]

Sometimes used sarcastically to mean the opposite or to connote excess.

Synonyms[edit]
Antonyms[edit]
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Translations[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Adverb[edit]

nice (comparative more nice, superlative most nice)

  1. (colloquial) Nicely.
    Children, play nice.
    He dresses real nice.

Interjection[edit]

nice!

  1. Used to signify a job well done.
    Nice! I couldn't have done better.
  2. Used to signify approval.
    Is that your new car? Nice!
Translations[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Name of a Unix program used to invoke a script or program with a specified priority, with the implication that running at a lower priority is "nice" (kind, etc.) because it leaves more resources for others.

Verb[edit]

nice (third-person singular simple present nices, present participle nicing, simple past and past participle niced)

Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia

  1. (transitive, computing, Unix) To run a process with a specified (usually lower) priority.
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