adjective, nic·er, nic·est.
- pleasing; agreeable; delightful: a nice visit.
- amiably pleasant; kind: They are always nice to strangers.
- characterized by, showing, or requiring great accuracy, precision, skill, tact, care, or delicacy: nice workmanship; a nice shot; a nice handling of a crisis.
- showing or indicating very small differences; minutely accurate, as instruments: a job that requires nice measurements.
- minute, fine, or subtle: a nice distinction.
- having or showing delicate, accurate perception: a nice sense of color.
- refined in manners, language, etc.: Nice people wouldn’t do such things.
- virtuous; respectable; decorous: a nice girl.
- suitable or proper: That was not a nice remark.
- carefully neat in dress, habits, etc.
- (especially of food) dainty or delicate.
- having fastidious, finicky, or fussy tastes: They’re much too nice in their dining habits to enjoy an outdoor barbecue.
- Obsolete. coy, shy, or reluctant.
- Obsolete. unimportant; trivial.
- Obsolete. wanton.
- make nice, to behave in a friendly, ingratiating, or conciliatory manner.
- nice and, sufficiently: It’s nice and warm in here.
- pleasant or commendablea nice day
- kind or friendlya nice gesture of help
- good or satisfactorythey made a nice job of it
- subtle, delicate, or discriminatinga nice point in the argument
- precise; skilfula nice fit
- rare fastidious; respectablehe was not too nice about his methods
- foolish or ignorant
- shy; modest
- nice and pleasinglyit’s nice and cool
- a city in SE France, on the Mediterranean: a leading resort of the French Riviera; founded by Phocaeans from Marseille in about the 3rd century bc . Pop: 342 738 (1999)
n acronym for
- (in Britain) National Institute for Clinical Excellence: a body established in 1999 to provide authoritative guidance on current best practice in medicine and to promote high-quality cost-effective medical treatment in the NHS
late 13c., “foolish, stupid, senseless,” from Old French nice (12c.) “careless, clumsy; weak; poor, needy; simple, stupid, silly, foolish,” from Latin nescius “ignorant, unaware,” literally “not-knowing,” from ne- “not” (see un-) + stem of scire “to know” (see science). “The sense development has been extraordinary, even for an adj.” [Weekley] — from “timid” (pre-1300); to “fussy, fastidious” (late 14c.); to “dainty, delicate” (c.1400); to “precise, careful” (1500s, preserved in such terms as a nice distinction and nice and early); to “agreeable, delightful” (1769); to “kind, thoughtful” (1830).
“In many examples from the 16th and 17th centuries it is difficult to say in what particular sense the writer intended it to be taken.” [OED]
By 1926, it was pronounced “too great a favorite with the ladies, who have charmed out of it all its individuality and converted it into a mere diffuser of vague and mild agreeableness.” [Fowler]
“I am sure,” cried Catherine, “I did not mean to say anything wrong; but it is a nice book, and why should I not call it so?”
“Very true,” said Henry, “and this is a very nice day, and we are taking a very nice walk; and you are two very nice young ladies. Oh! It is a very nice word indeed! It does for everything.” [Jane Austen, “Northanger Abbey,” 1803]