From Middle English nyce, nice, nys, borrowed 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”).
- Pleasant, satisfactory. [from 18th c.]
- Of a person: friendly, attractive. [from 18th c.]
- Respectable; virtuous. [from 18th c.]
- What is a nice person like you doing in a place like this?
- (with and) Shows that the given adjective is desirable, or acts as a mild intensifier; pleasantly, quite. [from 18th c.]
- The soup is nice and hot.
- (obsolete) Silly, ignorant; foolish. [14th-17th c.]
- (now rare) Particular in one's conduct; scrupulous, painstaking; choosy. [from 14th c.]
- 1603, Michel de Montaigne, chapter 2, in John Florio, transl., The Essayes, […], book II, printed at London: By Val[entine] Simmes for Edward Blount […], OCLC 946730821:
- 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.
- 1749, Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling:
- Mr Blifil, I am confident, understands himself better than to think of seeing my niece any more this morning, after what hath happened. Women are of a nice contexture; and our spirits, when disordered, are not to be recomposed in a moment.
- 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.
- (obsolete) Particular as regards rules or qualities; strict. [16th-19th c.]
- 1815, Jane Austen, Emma, volume II, chapter 14:
- “Well, my dear,” he deliberately began, “considering we never saw her before, she seems a very pretty sort of young lady; and I dare say she was very much pleased with you. She speaks a little too quick. A little quickness of voice there is which rather hurts the ear. But I believe I am nice; I do not like strange voices; and nobody speaks like you and poor Miss Taylor. ..."
- 1818, Jane Austen, Persuasion, chapter 16:
- "Good company requires only birth, education and manners, and with regard to education is not very nice. Birth and good manners are essential."
- 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 is 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.
- 1914: Saki, Laura:
- (obsolete) Easily injured; delicate; dainty.
- (obsolete) Doubtful, as to the outcome; risky. [16th-19th c.]
- c. 1597, William Shakespeare, “The First Part of Henry the Fourth, […]”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act IV, scene i]:
- [W]ere it good / To ſet the exact wealth of al our ſtates / Al at one caſt? to ſet ſo rich a maine / On the nice hazard of one doubtfull houre?
- Is it good / To bet all of our wealth / On one throw of the dice? To place so high a stake / On the risky hazard of one doubtful hour?
- 1822, T. Creevey, Reminiscences, 28 Jul.:
- It has been a damned nice thing - the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life.
- 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!
- (easy to like: person): charming, delightful, friendly, kind, lovely, pleasant, sweet
- (easy to like: thing): charming, delightful, lovely, pleasant
- (having a pleasant taste or aroma): appetising/appetizing, delicious, moreish (informal), scrummy (slang), scrumptious (slang), tasty
- (subtle): fine, subtle
- (easy to like: person): horrible, horrid, nasty
- (easy to like: thing): horrible, horrid, nasty
- (having a pleasant taste or aroma): awful, disgusting, foul, horrible, horrid, nasty, nauseating, putrid, rancid, rank, sickening, distasteful, gross, unsatisfactory
- (respectable; virtuous): naughty
- 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 Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
- → Dutch: nice
- → German: nice
- → Danish: nice
- → Swedish: najs, nice
- → Norwegian:
- Norwegian Bokmål: nice
- Used to signify a job well done.
- Nice! I couldn't have done better.
- Used to signify approval.
- Is that your new car? Nice!
- 2000, Dana Stabenow, Midnight Come Again, →ISBN, page 111:
- She had refused as kindly as she know how, using up as much nice as she had energy for because she was glad of his company when three o'clock rolled around and she started thinking about September.
- 2013, Todd Whitaker, What Great Teachers Do Differently: 17 Things That Matter Most, →ISBN:
- We could debate forever about whether we have enough of one or too much of another. But I know one thing for sure: We never have too much nice.
- 2014, Jean Illsley Clarke, Connie Dawson, &David Bredehoft, How Much Is Too Much?, →ISBN:
- It is the absence of rules and too much nice that are more likely to produce terror.
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.
- nice in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
- nice in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911.
- nice at OneLook Dictionary Search
- Nice at NiceDefinition.com
nice (plural nices)
- “nice” in Trésor de la langue française informatisé (The Digitized Treasury of the French Language).
- Alternative form of