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nice

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See also Nice

English

Etymology

Latin nescius = "not knowing".

Original usage: "A nice distinction", meaning a distinction so subtle it would only be made by the ignorant. Similar in meaning to the phrase "a moot point". The illogical association of "nice" with good feelings probably arose from the loss of the original meaning and a false interpretation of the word's usage.

Pronunciation

Adjective

nice (comparative nic, superlative er)

Positive
nice

Comparative
nic

Superlative
er

  1. Of a thing or person or event, pleasant, pretty:
    What a nice dress!
  2. admirable, enviable:
    A third-term senator holds a nice level of seniority.
  3. Innocent; gentle; distinguished by perceived class or virtue:
    What is a nice person like you doing in a place like this?
  4. Showing or requiring great precision or sensitive discernment; subtle
    a nice distinction
  5. neat; elegantly succinct:
    Fermat believed he had a nice proof of his theorem.
  6. Bordering on failure or disaster; succeeding by the narrowest of margins:
    "It has been a damned nice thing - the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life" -- The Duke of Wellington shortly after the Battle of Waterloo, 1815.
  7. (colloquial) With "and", excellent, pleasing:
    The soup is nice and hot.

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

Synonyms

Antonyms

Related terms

Translations

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Interjection

nice!

  1. Used to signify a job well done.
    Nice! I couldn't have done better.

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