Cambridge Dictionary

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Meaning of nice in English

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nice adjective ( PLEASANT )

  • good It's a good film overall.
  • enjoyable We had an enjoyable time with Bob and Helen.
  • pleasant The weather is pleasant but not too hot.
  • interesting The history of the place was really interesting.
  • nice Have a nice day!
  • After the trip , it was nice getting back to a few home comforts .
  • This room is nice and cosy in the winter .
  • You looked equally nice in both dresses - I wouldn't know which one to advise you to buy .
  • It's always nice to be paid a compliment .
  • It's nice to see her smile for a change .
  • agreeableness
  • all things to all people idiom
  • delightfully
  • distraction
  • divertingly
  • indulgently
  • serendipitous

nice adjective ( KIND )

  • friendly I like his sister - she's so friendly.
  • nice Her boyfriend is really nice.
  • amiable She was perfectly amiable.
  • genial Our genial host led us to our room.
  • congenial He's very congenial and so quite likeable.
  • kind You'll never meet a kinder person.
  • nice He's such a nice guy.
  • sweet She's the sweetest little girl in the whole class.
  • good to Jay's mother has been very good to us.
  • good-hearted He's a good-hearted kid who loves to help out.
  • She's nice, but I don't feel I can confide in her.
  • He's obviously making a conscious effort to be nice to me at the moment .
  • He's a really nice guy .
  • I tried to be nice to him, honest to God I did!
  • He's not amazingly handsome , but he's nice and that's more important .
  • affiliative
  • conversable
  • conviviality
  • convivially
  • hospitality
  • inseparable
  • sugar and spice idiom
  • sweet-natured
  • sweet-tempered
  • the human touch
  • togetherness

You can also find related words, phrases, and synonyms in the topics:

nice adjective ( SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT )

  • blow-by-blow
  • in depth phrase
  • in the weeds idiom
  • intricately
  • over-elaborate
  • painstaking
  • painstakingly
  • pointillistic
  • thoroughgoing
  • thoroughgoingly
  • thoroughness
  • white-glove

nice | American Dictionary

Nice adjective [-er/-est only] ( pleasant ), nice adjective [-er/-est only] ( kind ), examples of nice, translations of nice.

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the activity of spending too much time considering your own thoughts, feelings, or problems

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Definition of nice

 (Entry 1 of 2)

Definition of nice  (Entry 2 of 2)

  • respectable

correct , accurate , exact , precise , nice , right mean conforming to fact, standard, or truth.

correct usually implies freedom from fault or error.

accurate implies fidelity to fact or truth attained by exercise of care.

exact stresses a very strict agreement with fact, standard, or truth.

precise adds to exact an emphasis on sharpness of definition or delimitation.

nice stresses great precision and delicacy of adjustment or discrimination.

right is close to correct but has a stronger positive emphasis on conformity to fact or truth rather than mere absence of error or fault.

Examples of nice in a Sentence

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'nice.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Middle English, foolish, wanton, from Anglo-French, silly, simple, from Latin nescius ignorant, from nescire not to know — more at nescience

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 7a

circa 1544, in the meaning defined above

Phrases Containing nice

  • nice and easy
  • have a nice day
  • nice - nelly
  • nice - looking

Articles Related to nice

naughty or nice

Are You Naughty or Nice?

He's making a quiz, and checking it twice...

noice definition nice

A slang word for "nice"

gucci definition

Fancy, very fashionable; great, excellent

Dictionary Entries Near nice

Cite this entry.

“Nice.” Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition

Kids definition of nice.

Middle English nice "foolish, stupid," from early French nice (same meaning), from Latin nescius "ignorant," from nescire "not to know," from ne- "not" and scire "to know" — related to science

Geographical Definition

Geographical name, definition of nice, more from merriam-webster on nice.

Nglish: Translation of nice for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of nice for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about nice

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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.

Idioms about nice

make nice , to behave in a friendly, ingratiating, or conciliatory manner.

nice and , sufficiently: It's nice and warm in here.

Origin of nice

Usage note for nice, other words for nice, opposites for nice, other words from nice.

  • nicely, adverb
  • niceness, noun
  • o·ver·nice, adjective
  • o·ver·nice·ly, adverb
  • o·ver·nice·ness, noun
  • un·nice, adjective
  • un·nice·ly, adverb
  • un·nice·ness, noun

Words that may be confused with nice

  • 1. nice , niceness , nicety
  • 2. gneiss , nice

Words Nearby nice

  • Nice guys finish last
  • nice-looking
  • Nicene Council
  • Nicene Creed

Other definitions for Nice (2 of 2)

a port in and the capital of Alpes-Maritimes, in southeastern France, on the Mediterranean: known as a vacation resort.

Origin of Nice Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use nice in a sentence

A design that matches the gaming equipment is always a nice bonus.

We don’t recommend relying on magic scrapers in areas where thick ice and heavy snow are a regular occurrence, but it’s nice to have them around for lighter snowstorms.

It took everything I saved up and sacrificed, but now we got a nice little place going on.

The spicy version, with a nice complex burn in the seasoning, is even better.

This particular tool is inexpensive, available in two sizes, and has a nice ergonomic handle.

From there we took the train to nice , France, but the French border control caught us and sent us back to Italy.

Another beautiful Eminor number, with a nice shift up to the major for the chorus.

Champagne, which is also acidic, offers a nice complement to anything from tuna tartare to beef bourguignon.

And there are a few nice things buried beneath the rubble that I could use in my apartment.

It was also nice to have a place where my family and friends could see what was going on in my life.

There is more of artfulness in the flatteries which appear to involve a calculating intention to say the nice agreeable thing.

I don't care, it ain't nice , and I wonder aunt brought us to such a place.

And right after that, some nice sour milk would come splashing down into the trough of the pen.

The boy backed away from him, and stood a little distance off, holding out a nice , juicy potato this time.

"I don't think that is a very nice taste," said Davy, beginning to feel very uneasy.

British Dictionary definitions for nice (1 of 3)

/ ( naɪs ) /

pleasant or commendable : a nice day

kind or friendly : a nice gesture of help

good or satisfactory : they made a nice job of it

subtle, delicate, or discriminating : a nice point in the argument

precise; skilful : a nice fit

rare fastidious; respectable : he was not too nice about his methods

foolish or ignorant

shy; modest

nice and pleasingly : it's nice and cool

Derived forms of nice

  • nicely , adverb
  • niceness , noun
  • nicish , adjective

British Dictionary definitions for Nice (2 of 3)

/ ( French nis ) /

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)

British Dictionary definitions for NICE (3 of 3)

(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

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Cultural definitions for Nice

[ ( nees ) ]

City in southeastern France on the Mediterranean Sea .

Notes for Nice

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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Definition of 'nice'

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nice in British English

Nice in british english, nice in british english, nice in american english, nice in american english, examples of 'nice' in a sentence nice, more idioms containing nice, cobuild collocations nice, trends of nice.

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Definition of nice adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary

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The Oxford Learner’s Thesaurus explains the difference between groups of similar words. Try it for free as part of the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary app

as nice definition

Other results

  • Mr. Nice Guy
  • have a nice day!

Nearby words

as nice definition

Being Nice vs. Being Kind

  • Markkula Center for Applied Ethics
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Are they the same?

The ethical difference between being nice and being kind.


What is the difference between being nice and being kind? At first glance, it is hard to tell.  We seem to use “nice” and “kind” interchangeably when describing people. A “nice person” holds the door for others, and so does a “kind person”; both behave in ways that demonstrate consideration for others. So are “nice” and “kind” just synonyms for each other?

Not exactly, according to . “ Nice ” is defined as “pleasing; agreeable; delightful”, while “ kind ” is defined as “having, showing, or proceeding from benevolence.” This difference seem to explain why we use “nice” but not “kind” to describe things besides people and the way they treat each other. For example, “nice shirt” is understood as a compliment (albeit a vague one), but “kind shirt” is a nonsensical phrase. It seems that while “nice” and “kind” carry positive connotations, only the latter indicates an ethical significance. 

Does that mean that “kind” is merely a subset of “nice” that applies to ethical matters? Since “nice” describes moral things that are pleasing, as well as nonmoral things that are pleasing, perhaps “kind” simply refers to the first group of nice things. While this interpretation is appealing in its simplicity, it might be that things can be nice without being kind, and vice versa. The distinguishing factor seems to lie in the motivation of a person or act. 

For example, consider again how holding the door for others can be described as either “nice” or “kind”.  If the underlying motivation is to create a favorable impression for the purpose of asking for a favor later, then the action can be considered nice due to its pleasing effect, but not kind without a sense of benevolence. Conversely, if the motivation is to spare the other person from extra effort or inconvenience, then the action can be considered kind, as well as nice if it pleases the other person. After all, pleasing others and benevolence do not have to be mutually exclusive. 

It seems that they do not have to be mutually inclusive, either. Perhaps not every action coming from a place of benevolence has a pleasing effect. For example, imagine that you have to break some bad news to a good friend of yours. While the news is almost guaranteed to displease your friend, you know that the information will help them in the long run. In such a situation, breaking the news to your friend can be considered a kind action, but not necessarily a nice one. 

What do you think? What marks the difference being nice and being kind? Can the two overlap? Share your thoughts with us below!

Kelly Shi is the Hackworth Fellow and the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. 

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nice adjective & adverb

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What does the word nice mean?

There are 44 meanings listed in OED's entry for the word nice , 22 of which are labelled obsolete. See ‘Meaning & use’ for definitions, usage, and quotation evidence.

nice has developed meanings and uses in subjects including

How common is the word nice ?

How is the word nice pronounced, british english, u.s. english, where does the word nice come from.

Earliest known use

Middle English

The earliest known use of the word nice is in the Middle English period (1150—1500).

OED's earliest evidence for nice is from around 1300, in St. Mary Magdalen .

nice is a borrowing from French.

Etymons: French nice .

In other dictionaries

  • nīce, adj. in Middle English Dictionary

Nearby entries

  • nicanee, n. 1652–
  • Nicaragua, n. 1696–
  • Nicaraguan, n. & adj. 1613–
  • nicardipine, n. 1979–
  • niccolic, adj. 1839–76
  • niccoliferous, adj. 1820–68
  • niccolite, n. 1868–
  • niccolous, adj. 1839–76
  • nice, n.¹ a1393–1793
  • Nice, n.² 1895–
  • nice, adj. & adv. c1300–
  • nice, v. 1919–
  • nicebecetur, n. c1520–84
  • nice-becoming, adj. 1727
  • nicebice, n. 1595
  • nice-brained, adj. 1604
  • nice-but-dim, adj. 1989–
  • nice-conscienced, adj. 1530–1642
  • niced, adj. c1475–1577
  • nice-discerning, adj. 1745–1820
  • nice-driven, adj. 1630

Meaning & use

Bote ich þe [seide] hou heo heold mi lif, for-soþe ich were nice .
Ich am vn-wis & wonderliche nyce .
He dude þe childe habbe noryce, Gentil leuedyes and nouȝth nyce .
They seiden he was a fool..and that they sien neuere so Nise A man.
He that is not a grete clerke Is nyse & lewde to medle with that werke.
Quha that dois deidis of petie..Is haldin a fule, and that full nyce .
As well the wyse: as mad and nyse , to others leave theyr port.
Many a nyse wyfe and a back doore Oft maketh a riche man poore.
  • dizzy Old English– Foolish, stupid. Now only dialect . (Not in general use since 13th cent.)
  • redeless Old English– Without counsel or advice; foolish, heedless; resourceless, perplexed, confused.
  • unwise Old English– Lacking or deficient in (practical) wisdom, discretion, or prudence; indiscreet, imprudent, foolish. Also const. in .
  • unwitty Old English– Lacking or deficient in wit, intelligence, or knowledge; ignorant, unwise, witless. Now rare .
  • daftlike c1175– Having an appearance of folly or craziness.
  • witless c1175– Lacking wisdom or sense; not guided by reason; unreasonable, foolish, heedless.
  • cang a1225–25 Foolish, silly. (In quot. 1225 ? wanton.)
  • adoted ?c1225 Doting, foolish, silly. Also as n. : foolish people.
  • cangun ?c1225–30 = canged , adj.
  • egede c1225–1330 Foolish, silly, ridiculous.
  • canged a1250 Foolish, besotted.
  • fool a1250– Foolish, silly, stupid. In early use often: spec. showing a lack of judgement; rash, imprudent, unwise. Now colloquial or regional (esp. U.S. ).
  • snepe a1250– Foolish, silly.
  • aerwitte c1275 Witless, unwise.
  • sotly c1275 Foolish.
  • unsly c1275–1450 Of persons: Unskilful, unwise, foolish, careless.
  • unwitter c1275 Unknowing, foolish.
  • unwily a1300– Not wily, artful, or cunning; †simple, silly.
  • nice c1300–1617 Of a person: foolish, silly, simple; ignorant. Obsolete .
  • goosish c1374– Goose-like, silly, stupid.
  • unskilful c1374–1569 Undiscerning; unwise, foolish. Obsolete . rare .
  • folly c1380–1604 Foolish, unwise. Also occasionally as n. : foolish people as a class.
  • mis-feeling a1382 Foolish, unwise; senseless.
  • lewd a1387–1710 Of a person, action, assertion, belief, etc.: lacking in judgement or wisdom; stupid, foolish; unskilful, bungling. In early use frequently in…
  • dottle c1390– Lacking sense or judgement; foolish; crazy; (also) having one's mental faculties impaired in old age. Cf. dottled , adj.
  • folted c1390–1425 Foolish, unwise.
  • peevish c1400–1669 Perverse, refractory; headstrong, obstinate; capricious, skittish; (also) coy. Obsolete .
  • fon a1425–1538 Foolish, silly.
  • fonnish c1425–1529 Foolish.
  • folious a1450 Foolish.
  • foolish a1450– Of a person: having limited or impaired mental faculties; that has a limited capacity to learn, understand, reason, etc.; that has an intellectual…
  • daft ?c1450– Silly, foolish, stupid. Cf. innocent , adj. & n. , silly , adj. & n. & adv. Of persons: Wanting in intelligence, stupid, foolish.
  • doited c1450– Foolish, crazy; (also) having one's mental faculties impaired, esp. by old age.
  • doty c1450–1500 Silly, foolish. Cf. doting , adj.¹ 1a.
  • daffish 1470– Spiritless; stupid.
  • insapient c1470– Unwise; insipient.
  • doting 1489– Of an action, attribute, idea, etc.: characterized by or indicating foolishness or stupidity; (now usually) exhibiting a decline of mental faculties…
  • gucked ?a1500–1637 Foolish; silly.
  • wanwitty a1500 Foolish, witless.
  • dotish 1509– Foolish, stupid, silly; lacking sense or judgement; having one's mental faculties impaired, esp. by old age.
  • furious 1526–1605 Foolish, absurd. Obsolete .
  • insipient 1528– Void of wisdom; unwise, foolish. ? Obsolete . (Now mostly, or wholly, disused to avoid confusion with incipient .)
  • seely a1529– Foolish, simple, silly.
  • dawish ?1529–1605 Like or characteristic of a daw; silly, sluttish.
  • foolage 1545– Foolish.
  • momish 1546–92 Characteristic of a fool or dolt; foolish.
  • base-witted c1547– Forming parasynthetic adjectives and derived adverbs and nouns, esp. in sense A.II.10a, as base-hearted (also base-heartedly ), base-mettled , base-spi …
  • stultitious a1549–1632 Foolish, ridiculous.
  • folliful c1550–1884 Full of folly or foolishness.
  • senseless 1565– Of a person or (occasionally) an animal: stupid, foolish; lacking intelligence or common sense.
  • mopish 1568–1609 Foolish, stupid.
  • fondish 1579– Foolish; of impaired intellect or understanding. Now rare ( English regional ( Yorkshire ) in later use).
  • unsensible a1586– Not showing good or sound sense.
  • fondly 1587 Foolish, silly. Obsolete . rare .
  • dizzardly 1594–1608 Like a dizzard, silly, idiotic.
  • follial 1596 Foolish, unwise.
  • featless c1598–1721 Inept, silly.
  • fopperly 1599 Silly, foolish.
  • gowked a1605– Foolish.
  • inept 1604– Absurd; wanting in reason or judgement; silly, foolish.
  • simple 1604– Stupid, foolish. Also: having an intellectual disability (now offensive ). Cf. simple-minded , adj. A.1b.
  • anserine 1607– Stupid, silly; = goosish , adj.
  • foppish 1608–1720 Resembling or befitting a ‘fop’ or fool; foolish, silly. Obsolete .
  • silly ass 1608– (a) n. A foolish or stupid person (cf. ass , n.¹ 2); spec. an amiable upper-class idiot; (b) adj. characteristic of, or designating, such a person.
  • unsage 1608– ( un- , prefix¹ affix 1.)
  • wisdomless 1608– Destitute of wisdom.
  • fool-begged a1616 Foolish, ridiculous; cf. to beg (any one) for a fool at beg , v. 5a.
  • Gotham 1621–92 attributive passing into adjective: Of or pertaining to Gotham; foolish, stupid.
  • soft 1621– colloquial . Lacking intelligence or common sense; easily imposed on or deceived; foolish, silly. Also (potentially offensive ): having a mental…
  • noddy 1645– Foolish, silly.
  • badot 1653 Silly.
  • dosser-headed 1655 Foolish.
  • infrunite 1657–1716 Senseless, silly.
  • nonsensical c1661– Of a person: having no sense; foolish, silly.
  • slight 1663 Foolish, unwise. Obsolete . rare .
  • sappy 1670– Foolish. (Cf. sap , n.⁵ ) Also as n.
  • dateless a1686– Chiefly English regional ( northern and midlands ). Having dementia or mental illness; (in weakened use) stupid, foolish. Also: insensible, stupefied.
  • noddy-peaked 1694 Foolish, doltish.
  • nizy 1709–20 Foolish. Obsolete .
  • dottled 1772– Having the mental faculties impaired, esp. in old age. Cf. dottle , adj.
  • gypit 1804– Silly, foolish, idiotic.
  • shay-brained 1806– Foolish, silly.
  • folly-stricken 1807– As a modifier, with the sense ‘by folly; with folly’, as in folly-filled , folly-stricken , (adjectives); also with participles, forming compounds in…
  • fool-like 1811– Chiefly Scottish . Foolish, silly, stupid. Now rare .
  • goosy 1811– Resembling a goose; hence, foolish, silly.
  • as crazy (also wild, mad) as a loon 1812– as crazy (also wild, mad) as a loon and variants: (of a person) irrational, erratic, foolish, or unconventional in thought or behaviour.
  • spoony 1813– Of persons, etc.: Foolish, soft, silly.
  • chowder-headed 1819– = jolter-headed , adj.
  • niddle-noddle 1821– Having a nodding head; nodding, unsteady. Also figurative .
  • gumptionless 1823– Without gumption, senseless.
  • daftish 1825– Somewhat daft.
  • anserous 1826– Stupid, silly; = anserine , adj. 1.
  • spoonish 1833– Foolish.
  • cheese-headed 1836– Silly, foolish.
  • dotty 1860– Of a person: mentally impaired or confused; (in weakened use) irrational, eccentric. Also of ideas, behaviour, etc.: ridiculous, absurd.
  • fool-fool 1868– Foolish, silly; esp. simple-minded, naive, gullible.
  • noodly 1870– Stupid, silly.
  • gormless 1883– Wanting sense, or discernment.
  • daffy 1884– = daft , adj.
  • monkey-doodle 1886– Foolish, meddling, mischievous. Frequently in monkey-doodle business (cf. monkey business , n. ).
  • mosy 1887– regional (chiefly English regional ( midlands )). Confused, bewildered; out of sorts; fuddled through drinking alcohol; foolish, stupid.
  • jay 1891– transferred . A stupid or silly person; a simpleton.
  • barmy 1892– slang . Having a mental illness or mild intellectual disability (now considered offensive ). Also (now chiefly) in weakened use: foolish, silly. Cf…
  • pithecanthropic 1897– Of, relating to, or resembling Pithecanthropus; ( figurative ) apelike, primitive, clumsy.
  • peanut-headed 1906– Of a person: having a particularly small head. Hence generally: stupid, foolish; cf. peanut-brained , adj. , pinheaded , adj. 1.
  • dinlo 1907– Esp. of a person: stupid, foolish, idiotic; daft.
  • dilly 1908– Foolish, stupid, silly.
  • boob 1911– Idiotic, stupid, inane.
  • goofy 1921– Stupid, silly, daft.
  • ding-a-ling 1935– Originally: silly, foolish. Later (chiefly in hyperbolic use and potentially offensive ): wildly uncontrolled or irrational. Chiefly in to go ding-a …
  • dipsy-do 1938– Originally (with about or over ): infatuated, besotted. Later also: foolish, muddle-headed. Cf. dipsy , adj.² A.1, dipsy-doodle , adj. B.3.
  • jerky 1944– North American colloquial . Characteristic of or like a jerk ( jerk , n.¹ A.III.12); foolish, stupid; deliberately obnoxious.
  • jerk 1947– Originally: foolish, stupid, inept. Now: deliberately irritating or obnoxious. Usually designating or with reference to a male. Cf. jerk-off , adj. …
  • jerkish 1948– colloquial (originally North American ). Characteristic of or resembling a jerk ( jerk , n.¹ A.III.12); foolish, bumbling; (also) deliberately…
  • doofus 1967– Characteristic of a stupid or foolish person; dumb, dopey. Cf. goofus , adj.
  • twitty 1967– Characteristic of or resembling a twit ( twit , n.¹ 2b); stupid, silly, foolish. Cf. twittish , adj.
  • twittish 1969– Characteristic of or resembling a twit ( twit , n.¹ 2b); stupid, silly, foolish.
  • nerkish 1975–
  • dipsy 1980– Originally (with about or over ): extremely enthusiastic; infatuated, besotted. Later usually: foolish, silly, muddle-headed. Cf. dippy , adj. , dipsy- …
  • numpty 1992– Esp. of a person: stupid, foolish, idiotic.
So is it bot a nyce Sinne Of gold to ben to covoitous.
Þyn askyng is nys ..þou foly hatz frayst.
Hys wyf..wiste no thyng of this nyce [ variant readings nyse, nesy] stryf.
Cookes with þeire newe conceytes, curies..provokethe þe peple to perelles of passage..þrouȝ nice excesse of suche receytes.
A nyce folysshe Couenaunte ought nat to be holden.
[Quha did] reheirs ane certane nyse Sermonis, [With argu] mentis, and diuers questionis.
Prye not into his secrets; 'tis a nice And foolish Itch, to Curiosities, To dispute Misteries.
  • unwitty c1200–1587 Of actions, etc.; Characterized by lack or absence of knowledge; senseless, foolish. Obsolete .
  • nice a1393–1657 Of an action, utterance, etc.: displaying foolishness or silliness; absurd, senseless. Obsolete .
  • foolish a1413– Resulting from or indicative of poor judgement.
  • kimet a1450– Foolish, stupid; mentally confused or disordered. Also: perverse, obstinate, intractable; awry.
  • peevish 1519–1676 Silly, senseless, foolish. Obsolete .
  • silly 1566– Of words, actions, ideas, etc.: characterized by or associated with foolishness. Of a thing: causing amusement or derision; having a comical…
  • senseless 1579– Of an action, occurrence, state of affairs, etc.: resulting from lack of sense or intelligence; stupid, foolish; often implying also lack of meaning…
  • untoward 1658– At variance with good conduct or propriety; indecorous, unseemly, improper; foolish.
  • bright 1830– Of an idea, action, etc. Used ironically or sarcastically: unintelligent, dim-witted; unwise, ill-conceived; unnecessarily innovative; too clever by…
  • spoony 1834– Of things: Characterized by foolishness or silliness.
  • damfool 1860– Typical of or appropriate to a damnfool; very foolish; absurd, ridiculous.
It was i-doo wiþ foule songes and gestes and iapes and nyse menstralcie.
We salle..telle ȝow oþer tales of..Madok þe Morgan, of þer nyce ribaudie.
From nyse iapes and rybawdye, Thow moste turne a-way þyn ye.
Gif thy lufe [be] sett alluterly Of nyce lust, thy trauail is in veyne.
These nyce and wanton wordis do not very well with vs.
Ouercome with nyce pleasures and fond vanities.
When mine houres Were nice and lucky, men did ransome liues Of me for iests.
A nice and wanton Appetite, Longs after Kickshaws, and takes more delight In dishes made up of they know not what.
  • gole Old English–1275 Merry, wanton, lascivious, lustful.
  • light ?c1225– Esp. of a woman or her behaviour: promiscuous; licentious; immoral. Now rare ( archaic in later use).
  • wooing a1382– That woos. That solicits in love; courting, as a lover; †wanton.
  • nice a1387–1665 Of conduct, behaviour, etc.: characterized by or encouraging wantonness or lasciviousness. Obsolete .
  • riot a1400 Lewd, vulgar.
  • wanton c1400– Of a person, esp. a woman: sexually unrestrained; not chaste; (often with a more strongly derogatory sense) promiscuous and unprincipled in sexual…
  • wrene c1400 Wanton.
  • laches c1450 Wanton, profligate; self-indulgent.
  • loose ?a1500– Of persons, their habits, writings, etc.: Free from moral restraint; lax in principle, conduct, or speech; chiefly in narrower sense, unchaste…
  • licentious 1555– Disregarding the restraints of chastity; libertine, lascivious, lewd. In modern usage the prevailing sense.
  • libertine 1560– Characteristic of or resembling a libertine (sense A.3); dissolute, licentious.
  • prostitute 1569– In early use: relating to or engaging in promiscuous sexual activity; licentious, abandoned. Later (usually as an attributive use of prostitute , n. …
  • riggish 1569– Esp. of a woman: sexually immodest, promiscuous; wanton.
  • wide 1574– Going beyond the bounds of what is considered to be normal, acceptable, or proper; unrestrained, wild; immoderate, excessive; morally lax, loose…
  • slipper 1581– Light, wanton. (Cf. slippery , adj. 5.)
  • slippery 1586– Licentious, wanton, unchaste; of doubtful morality.
  • sportive 1595– Engaging in or inclined to amorous dalliance or sexual play; (in later use also) devoted to pleasure; inclined to indulge in pursuits regarded as…
  • gay 1597– Originally of persons and later also more widely: dedicated to social pleasures; dissolute, promiscuous; frivolous, hedonistic. Also (esp. in to g …
  • Cyprian 1598– transferred . Licentious, lewd; in 18–19th centuries applied to prostitutes.
  • suburb 1598– With the sense ‘belonging to or characteristic of the suburbs (esp. of London), when characterized as a place of immoral or licentious…
  • waggish 1600– Of a person: Having the qualities of a wag; playfully mischievous. †Also, wanton, loose.
  • smicker 1606 Loose or lax; wanton.
  • suburbian 1606– = suburban , adj. , spec. (in early use often with negative sense) with reference to the immoral or licentious practices of the suburbs, esp. of London…
  • loose-living 1607–
  • free-living 1632– That lives freely, or in freedom; given to or characterized by free indulgence of the appetites; liberal, uninhibited.
  • libertinous 1632– Dissolute, licentious; = libertine , adj. B.1.
  • loose-lived 1641–
  • Corinthian 1642– ‘Relating to the licentious manners of Corinth’ (Johnson), profligate. In 19th century use: given to elegant dissipation.
  • akolastic 1656– Prodigal, licentious; (in early use also) †incorrigible.
  • slight 1685 Of persons. Loose in morals. Obsolete . rare .
  • fast 1699– Of a person: living or behaving in an extravagant, unconventional, or dissipated way. Also: designating the lifestyle of such a person, as in fast …
  • free a1731–1859 Coarse, lewd. Obsolete .
  • brisk 1740 In allied senses, chiefly unfavourable. (With senses A.2c, A.2d, cf. French brusque .) ‘Fast’ of life.
  • shy 1787– dialect . Of a horse: Skittish, unmanageable; high-mettled. Hence (?) of persons (see quot. 1855).
  • slang 1818– Given to the use of slang; of a fast or rakish character; impertinent.
  • random c1825– Of a person: living in an irregular or unrestrained way; careless, ‘flighty’. Cf. sense phrases P.2c. regional in later use.
  • fastish 1832– Somewhat or moderately fast (in various senses of the adjective).
  • loosish 1846– Somewhat loose.
  • velocious 1872– Rapid.
  • slummy 1873– depreciative . Associated with slums or their inhabitants; vulgar, uncouth; lacking sophistication or refinement.
  • fly 1880– U.S. Unrestrained or rebellious in one's behaviour: spec. (Esp. of a woman) flirtatious or sexually promiscuous; wanton.
  • slack 1951– colloquial (originally Caribbean ). derogatory . Of a person, esp. a woman: sexually promiscuous, licentious. Also: immoral, indecent. Cf. loose , adj. …
Anthonie..was so nyce , Wherof nature hire hath compleigned Unto the god.
Þese nyse [ c 1330 Auchinleck MS. wantoune] prestes..playeth here nyse game By nyȝt.
Nyce she was, but she ne mente Noon harme ne slight in hir entente, But oonly lust & jolyte.
Þou woldest han as wantonly þe gyed As doþ þe nycest of hem.
Dampned soulis..wolen not do weel, but euere be nyce .
He put out of his court all nyce and wanton people.
And yet some women say, that they be innocentes, god wot. This nycy Nymphe doth dysplay whether it be true or not.
These are complementes, these are humours, these betraie nice wenches that would be betraied without these.
The nice fondling, my Lady sir-reuerence.
  • golelich Old English–1200 Lustful.
  • fool ?c1225–1450 Lustful, lascivious; sexually promiscuous, licentious. Obsolete .
  • luxurious c1330–1697 Lascivious, lecherous, unchaste. Obsolete .
  • jolly c1384–1645 Amorous; amatory; wanton, lustful.
  • lusty c1386–1697 Full of lust or sexual desire; lustful. Obsolete .
  • Venerien c1386–1567 = Venerian , adj. & n.
  • nice a1393–1605 Of a person: wanton, dissolute, lascivious. Obsolete .
  • gay c1405–50 Wanton, lewd, lascivious. Obsolete .
  • lascivious c1425– Inclined to lust, lewd, wanton.
  • libidinous 1447– Having or expressing strong sexual desire, esp. when considered excessive or immoral; characterized by lustfulness or a preoccupation with sex…
  • Venerian 1448–1605 = venereal , adj. A.1.
  • coltish c1450–1625 transferred . Lustful, salacious, wanton. Obsolete .
  • gigly 1482 Lascivious.
  • lubric 1490– Lascivious; wanton.
  • rank a1500– Of a person: lustful, licentious ( English regional in later use); (of a female animal) in heat.
  • venereous 1509–1713 Of persons (or animals): Addicted to, desirous of, sexual enjoyment; libidinous, lustful.
  • lubricous 1535– Lascivious, wanton. rare .
  • venerious 1547–1634 = venereous , adj. 1.
  • boarish ?1550– Of or pertaining to a boar; resembling a boar; sensual; cruel. (As borish was a former spelling of both boarish and boorish , the two were often…
  • goatish ?1552– spec. Lascivious, lustful; given to lechery or licentiousness.
  • cadye 1554 Wanton, lascivious.
  • lusting 1559– That lusts; having lustful desires.
  • coy 1570 Lascivious, lecherous. Obsolete .
  • rage 1573 Mad, raging; fierce, violent; wanton.
  • rammish 1577 Lascivious, lustful; on heat.
  • venerial 1577–1630 = venereal , adj. A.3a.
  • lustful 1579– Full of, imbued with, or characterized by, lust or unlawful desires; pertaining to, marked by, or manifesting sensual desire; libidinous.
  • rageous 1579 Of persons, their actions, attributes, etc.: full of rage, passion, or anger; mad.
  • proud 1590–1629 Sexually excited; lascivious. Obsolete .
  • lust-breathed 1594 Energized or animated by lust.
  • rampant 1596– Lustful; (also) vicious.
  • venerous 1597– = venereous , adj. 1. Now rare .
  • sharp-set a1600–1794 Having a craving for sexual indulgence.
  • fulsome 1600–1721 Sexually unrestrained, unchaste, lascivious; bawdy, lewd. Obsolete .
  • lubrical 1602– =prec. in various senses; also, voluble.
  • stuprous 1603– Corrupt, immoral; that defiles or has been defiled; esp. of, relating to, or engaging in illicit sexual activity; unchaste, adulterous, lascivious.
  • hot-backed 1607–80 Lustful; cf. hot-arsed , adj.
  • ruttish 1607– Lewd, lustful, lascivious; in a state of sexual excitement or receptivity; relating to sexual excitement.
  • stoned 1607 transferred . Lascivious: cf. stone , n. compounds C.3b. Obsolete .
  • muskish-minded 1610 Lecherous, lustful. Only in muskish-minded adj. Obsolete .
  • Venerean 1612–31 Addicted to venereal pleasures. Also as n. , a person of this character.
  • saucy a1616– Originally: †wanton, lascivious ( obsolete ). Now colloquial in light-hearted or humorous use with milder sense: sexually suggestive or provocative…
  • veneral 1623–51 = venereous , adj. 1 3.
  • lascive 1647 Lascivious, wanton.
  • venereal 1652–1728 Of persons: under the influence of Venus; inclined to be lascivious; addicted to venery or lust. Obsolete .
  • lascivient 1653–1703 Wantoning, lascivious.
  • hircine 1656– Of, belonging to, or resembling a goat; spec. (a) having a goatish smell; (b) lustful.
  • hot-tempered 1673– †(a) Passionate, lustful ( obsolete ); (b) bad-tempered, irascible.
  • ramp 1678– Originally and chiefly Scottish . Riotous, wild; wanton, lascivious.
  • cadgy a1724– Wanton, lustful: amorous.
  • randy 1771– Originally Scottish and English regional . Lustful; eager for sexual gratification; sexually aroused. (Now the usual sense.)
  • concupiscent a1834– Eagerly desirous; lustful.
  • cupidinous 1859– ( nonce-use ) Lustful, amorous.
  • aphrodisiac 1862– Of or relating to sexual desire: that tends to increase sexual desire. Cf. venereal , adj. A.1.
  • lubricious 1884– = lubricous , adj. , in various senses.
  • radgie 1890– Angry, annoyed. Also in early use: lascivious, lewd. Cf. radge , adj. & n.²
  • sexy 1896– Containing or characterized by explicit sexual content; erotic, risqué; bawdy, saucy.
  • libidinal 1971– Having or expressing strong sexual desire; relating to or characterized by lustfulness or sexual activity; = libidinous , adj. 1a.
Prelatis..that..wasten the godis of the pride, glotonie, and lecherie, and nice arai of the world..ben theuis and sleeris of pore men.
Þou studiest aftir nyce aray, And makist greet cost in cloþing.
The ladies lefte their nyce arrayes, and the men lefte their glotonyes.
An Image with a nyce and wanton apparell and countenaunce.
So nyce array, So strange to thair abbay W t in this land was nevir hard nor sene.
No vertuous labour doth this people please, But nice apparrell, belly-cheare and ease.
He flutters forth Borne on light wing, in nice array, To shew himself in open day.
  • quaint c1330–1691 Of dress: fine, fashionable, elegant. Obsolete .
  • nice 1395–1771 Of dress: extravagant, showy, ostentatious. Also in extended use. Obsolete .
  • merry c1400–50 Of an article of clothing, an ornament, etc.: fine, handsome, brightly coloured. Obsolete .
  • feat c1430– Of dress, etc.: Becoming, well fitting, neat, elegant. Hence of the wearer: Neatly attired.
  • elegant ?c1500– Of a person: that dresses with tasteful beauty or sophistication; displaying elegance in dress. Sometimes in negative sense: foppish (cf. piss-elegant …
  • mannerly 1523– Of a fabric, an item of clothing, etc.: neat, respectable, clean. Now also (chiefly regional ): fashionable, smart.
  • fine 1526– Of dress: elaborate; showy; smart. Hence of a person: smartly or showily dressed (now chiefly in historical contexts).
  • neat 1566– Of clothing: handsome, fine; (now) spec. unadornedly smart; trim, elegant.
  • trim 1675 Neatly or smartly made, prepared, or arranged; elegantly or finely arrayed, dressed, or ‘got up’… Of things: chiefly in sense ‘neat, properly made…
  • smart 1704– Of an item of clothing, etc.: attractively neat and stylish; relatively formal.
  • dressy 1785– Of a garment or accessory: stylish, smart; suitable for a formal occasion. Also in extended use.
  • natty 1794– Of a thing, esp. an item of clothing: neatly smart; trim, fashionable; cleverly designed or made.
  • good 1809– spec. Originally Scottish . Of clothes: smart and suitable formal wear. Also of a room, furnishing, or household article: of superior quality and…
  • dossy 1889– Stylish, smart.
  • dicty 1932– High-class, fancy; elegant, stylish.
  • whip-smart 1937– Neat and trim; impeccably tailored, stylish. Now somewhat rare .
  • zooty 1943– Fashionably or stylishly dressed; smart, stylish, ‘cool’.
  • sharp 1944– As a general term of approbation. Originally U.S. slang . Of clothes: stylish, fashionable, smart, ‘snappy’. Hence of the wearer: well-dressed…
  • preppy 1963– Of clothes, appearance, etc.: typical of or associated with students at (prestigious) prep schools; neat, classic, smart.
Þou schalt fynde..none nyce dameselis wiþ garlondis of gold ne perlis.
She chastysed them that were nyce and queynte, sayeng that suche nycete was fylthe of the sowle.
She shal not..vse her voyce to be feate and nyce .
The wenche she was full proper and nyce Amonge all other she bare great price.
  • net c1330– Of a person: smart, trim, or elegant, esp. in dress. rare .
  • pert c1330– Of a person, his or her appearance: beautiful, attractive. In later use also: smart, dapper. Now rare ( English regional ).
  • clean c1386– Neatly-made, well-fashioned; not unwieldy; trim, shapely, comely. Cf. clean-limbed , adj. , etc.
  • nice c1400–1580 Of a person: finely dressed, elegant. Cf. phrases P.3a. Obsolete .
  • picked ?c1425–1892 Spruce, smart; adorned; refined, exquisite; (of language) ornate, elaborate, flowery. Also (in negative sense): finical, particular, fastidious. Obs …
  • dapper c1440– Of persons: Neat, trim, smart, spruce in dress or appearance. (Formerly appreciative; now more or less depreciative, with associations of littleness…
  • feat a1471– Neat in form or appearance, pretty, ‘nice’, elegant.
  • gim 1513– Smart, spruce.
  • trig 1513– Trim or tight in person, shape, or appearance; of a place, Neat, tidy, in good order. Chiefly Scottish and dialect .
  • well-trimmed c1513– Thoroughly, finely, or neatly trimmed (in various senses).
  • trick 1533–1630 Trim, neat, handsome, in form or feature; smart, ‘fine’, ornate in dress. Cf. trig , adj.¹ A.II.3.
  • smirk 1534– Neat, trim, spruce in dress or appearance; pleasant, agreeable. Also U.S. , smug. Now chiefly dialect .
  • tricksy 1552– Artfully trimmed or decked; spruce, smart, fine.
  • neat 1559– Of a person (esp. a woman), a part of the body, etc.: trim; comely; shapely; finely proportioned.
  • netty 1573 Neat, natty.
  • deft 1579– Neat, tidy, trim, spruce; handsome, pretty. Still dialect .
  • primp c1590– Originally (of the mouth, etc.): pursed, set; primly shut. Later (of a person, thing, etc.): prim, neat; (also) affected.
  • brisk a1593–1603 Smartly or finely dressed; spruce. Obsolete .
  • smug 1598– Of things: Smooth, clean, neat, trim, or tidy; in later use, having an appearance suggestive of complacency or respectability.
  • spruce 1598– Of a person, or his or her clothing or appearance: smart, neat, dapper, attractive. Also in extended use.
  • sprink 1602 Smart, well-dressed.
  • terse 1602–1824 Wiped, brushed; smoothed; clean-cut, sharp-cut; polished, burnished; neat, trim, spruce.
  • compt 1632 Dressed, as to the hair; more gen., trim, spruce, polished.
  • nitle 1673–1866 Skilful; industrious; ( gen. ) neat, smart, attractive.
  • sprig 1675–1898 Of a person's appearance: smart, neat, trim. Of a person's demeanour: brisk, active, alert, spry. Cf. sprug , v.
  • snod 1691– Of persons: Neat, tidy, trim, smart, spruce.
  • tight 1697– Neat in appearance; neatly and carefully dressed; trim, tidy, smart; also, Of a neat compact build, well-made, shapely. archaic or dialect . Cf. taut …
  • smugged 1706– (Also Comb. ).
  • snug 1714– Nautical . transferred . Of persons or things: Neat, trim. Now Obsolete or dialect .
  • pensy 1718– Scottish . Spruce, neat, careful with one's appearance.
  • fitty 1746 Fitting, becoming, proper, suitable; hence, nice, trim, neat.
  • jemmy 1751– Spruce, neat, smart; neatly-made; dexterous.
  • sprucy 1774– Smart in appearance; neat, dapper, attractive. Cf. spruce , adj.² A.2.
  • smart c1778– Of a person: neatly or (relatively) formally dressed; appearing neat and stylish; tidy, well turned-out.
  • natty 1785– Of a person: exhibiting or characterized by dainty tidiness, taste, or skill, esp. smartly and fashionably dressed. Also occasionally of a person's…
  • groomed 1803– That is or has been groomed (in various senses of groom , v. ); esp. used (with modifying adverb such as carefully , badly , perfectly , etc.) to…
  • spry 1806– dialect . Spruce, neat, smartly dressed.
  • perjink 1808– Exact, precise, extremely accurate. Also: fussy, fastidious, prim; neat.
  • soigné 1821– Dressed, adorned, tended, or prepared with great care and attention to detail; well-groomed.
  • nutty 1823– slang . Smart, spruce; attractive. Cf. nuttish , adj. 1a. Now archaic .
  • toiletted 1823– Of a person or thing: groomed, made presentable; dressed, costumed, attired. Frequently as the second element.
  • taut 1829– Originally and chiefly Nautical . Of a ship: smartly turned out, with a well-disciplined and efficient crew. Also of a naval rating…
  • spick and span 1846– Particularly neat, trim, or smart; suggestive of something quite new or unaffected by wear. Of persons in respect of dress.
  • spicy 1846– slang . Smart-looking; neat. Also as adv.
  • spiffy 1853– Smart, spruce.
  • well-groomed 1865– Tidily presented, in neat and attractive condition; esp. (of a person, esp. a man) of smart appearance; having neat or attractive hair, clothes, etc.
  • bandboxy 1870– Extremely neat. U.S.
  • perjinkity 1880– = perjink , adj.
  • spick-span 1888– = spick and span , adj.
  • bandbox 1916– attributive and in other combinations. Also in senses: (a) Resembling a bandbox; flimsy, fragile; (b) conspicuously neat and clean; dressed-up.
  • tiddly 1925– Smart, shipshape, spruce.
  • spit and polish 1950– spit and polish , the occupation of cleaning up or furbishing, as part of the work of a sailor or soldier; also in extended use, precise…
  • spit-and-polished 1977– spit and polish , the occupation of cleaning up or furbishing, as part of the work of a sailor or soldier; also in extended use, precise…
Ful many a draughte of wyn hadde he drawe Fro Burdeuxward whil that the chapman sleep; Of nyce conscience took he no keep.
Nyce men..Ye seken..To enbelesch youre excellent nature!
He the sole of conscience was so nice : That he no gaine would haue for all his payne.
He vnaduisedly strooke the young man, and because he is altogeather scrupulous and nice , he imagineth that he can not be free from irregularitie.
You shall promise me, for you are so nice in points of Honour.
So difficult a thing it is to play an after-Game of Reputation, in that nice and jealous profession.
Women of tainted Reputations find the same Countenance..with those of the nicest Virtue.
Men too were nice in honor in those days, And judg'd offenders well.
I am not very nice myself about these matters.
The Duke of Wellington said..‘Men who have nice notions about religion have no business to be soldiers.’
I should get it back again.., and not be too nice about the means.
Bertram Wooster in his dealings with the opposite sex invariably shows himself a man of the nicest chivalry.
Obtain possession of it by strong-arm tactics. Up against this dark and subtle butler, we cannot afford to be too nice in our methods.
  • nice c1387– Precise or particular in matters of reputation or conduct; scrupulous, punctilious. Now rare .
  • formal ?1518– Of persons, their manners and actions: Rigorously observant of forms; precise; prim in attire; ceremonious. Chiefly in reproachful use: Unduly…
  • point-device a1529– Perfectly correct or precise, esp. in matters of dress or appearance; scrupulous, neat, fastidious.
  • ceremonious 1553– Of persons: Addicted to ritual observances ( obsolete ); given to ceremony; punctilious in observance of formalities, esp. those of intercourse…
  • ceremonial 1579–1659 Of persons: Addicted to ceremony or ritual; precise in observance of forms of politeness; formal, ceremonious. Obsolete .
  • square c1590–1602 Precise, prim, solemn. Obsolete .
  • square-toed a1797– figurative . Old-fashioned, formal, precise.
  • wiggy 1817– Wearing, or distinguished by, a wig, bewigged; sometimes implying ‘extremely grave, formal, or ceremonious’.
  • nicey 1859– Nice. Also reduplicated for emphasis, as nicey-nicey adj. also nicey-nice .
  • uptight 1969– figurative . Characteristically formal in manner or style; correct, strait-laced.
Þis vnfavere [ read vnsavere] hyne Lovez no salt in her sauce, ȝet hit no skyl were Þat oþer burne be boute, þaȝ boþe be nyse .
He wold neuer desyre oþer dayntys þan hys moder sett befor hym, os oþer nyse chylder done.
Make hunger thy sawse, be thou neuer so nyse For there shalt thou fynde none other sawse ne spyce.
Anothere ys of so nyce and soo delycate a mynde that he settethe nothynge by yt.
The slouen and the carelesse man, the roynish nothing nice .
Your nice soules, cloyd with dilicious sounds, Will loath her lowly notes.
Nice ears are all for variety of Doctrines, as palates of meats.
'Tis a Happiness to be delivered from a Curious Mind, as well as from a Dainty Palate. For it is not only a Troublesome but Slavish Thing to be Nice .
He is not so nice as his Superiors, whom nothing will go down with, under right Nantz or Rum.
The mind..becomes.. nice and fastidious, and like a vitiated palate.
Nae doubt ye wad be owr nice for to spin.
She's seea nice , She weant heeat puddin' meead o' rice.
I can eat anything, and am not very nice about the cleanliness.
Neither is it [ sc. ivy] at all nice as to what it clutches, in its necessity for support.
To eat rats and such he was too nice .
Nobody, seeing her then, could have been so nice as to complain of such blemishes.
  • chis Old English–1425 Fastidious, dainty as to eating; particular or nice in choosing; to be chosen; choice; fond. (The sense in Middle English in some cases very…
  • estful Old English–1400 Dainty, fastidious, luxurious.
  • esquaymous 1303 Squeamish.
  • squeamous c1325– Distant, disdainful, fastidious.
  • overnice c1350– Too nice, excessively nice (in various senses). Formerly: esp. too fastidious, scrupulous, or particular.
  • curious c1380–1821 Careful as to the standard of excellence; difficult to satisfy; particular; nice, fastidious. Obsolete . esp. in food, clothing, matters of taste.
  • dangerous c1386–1577 Difficult to please; particular, ticklish; fastidious, nice, dainty, delicate. Obsolete .
  • delicate a1393– Difficult to please or satisfy; fastidious, fussy; demanding; (of a feeling, preference, etc.) characterized by fastidiousness or fussiness.
  • precious c1395– Aiming at or affecting refinement in manners, language, etc.; fastidious, particular. Now usually depreciative : over-delicate, over-fastidious…
  • nice c1400– Fastidious, fussy, difficult to please, esp. with regard to food or cleanliness; of refined or dainty tastes.
  • skig c1400 Fastidious.
  • over-delicate a1425– Excessively delicate; too delicate.
  • dainteth c1430–40 Obsolete .
  • tickle c1456– Delicate in the feelings or senses; fastidious, dainty, squeamish; easily upset or disordered. Now dialect .
  • quaint 1483–1849 Dainty, fastidious; prim. Obsolete .
  • daunch a1500–1888 Fastidious.
  • picking a1500–1678 Insubstantial; trifling; dainty, fine. Obsolete .
  • feat ?1529– Affected, finikin.
  • elegant ?1533– Of a person: having superior taste or discernment; (modifying an agent noun) performing the specified activity with refined discernment. Now only in…
  • queasy 1545–1659 Of the mind, faculties, etc.: delicate, fastidious; squeamish. Obsolete .
  • fine 1546– Characterized by or affecting refinement or elegance; (affectedly) dainty or genteel; fastidious, prim.
  • fine-fingered 1549– Delicate in nature or constitution; dainty, fastidious.
  • fastidious ?1555– Scrupulously or minutely concerned with refinement in matters of taste or propriety; having exacting standards or paying meticulous attention to…
  • fine-mouthed 1559– Excessively or affectedly refined; fastidious; overscrupulous; spec. having a refined or fastidious taste in food and drink; epicurean.
  • chary 1567– Fastidious, shy, particular.
  • weamish 1571–1777 Squeamish.
  • saucy 1573– Fastidious; spoilt; (esp. with reference to food) fussy, picky. Now Scottish and English regional .
  • dainty 1576– Of persons, etc.: Possessing or displaying delicate taste, perception, or sensibility; nice, fastidious, particular; sometimes, over-nice.
  • superfine 1576– Excessively refined or fastidious; highly elegant or sophisticated.
  • niced 1577 Made foolish or delicate.
  • overcurious 1579– Too careful, fastidious, or particular. Now archaic and rare .
  • nicing 1581 Disdainful, fastidious.
  • fineish 1582– Somewhat fine (in various senses of the adjective); esp. (in early use) †affecting refinement; somewhat fastidious ( obsolete ).
  • prick-me-dainty 1583– Excessively or affectedly precise in matters of dress or personal appearance; excessively particular or fastidious.
  • daint 1590–1673 = dainty , adj.
  • finical 1592– Of persons, their actions and attributes: Over-nice or particular, affectedly fastidious, excessively punctilious or precise, in speech, dress…
  • tiptoe-nice 1593 So nice or particular as to walk on tiptoe.
  • nice 1594–1841 Fastidious in matters of literary taste or style. Obsolete .
  • nicking 1598– That nicks (in various senses of the verb).
  • choice 1601–56 Of persons: Careful or nice in choosing, selective, discriminative. Obsolete or dialect .
  • squeamish 1608– Fastidious or dainty with respect to what one handles, uses, or comes in contact with.
  • marchpane 1609–97 Dainty, delicate, fussy. Obsolete .
  • hypercritical 1611– Of the character of a hypercritic; extremely or unduly critical; addicted to excessive adverse criticism, esp. upon minute or trivial points.
  • particular 1616– Attentive to the details of activities and arrangements; careful, precise, or scrupulous. Hence: exacting; fastidious.
  • finicking 1661– Affecting extreme refinement; dainty, fastidious, mincing; excessively precise in trifles. Also of things: Over-delicately wrought or finished…
  • overcritical 1667– Excessively critical; hypercritical.
  • just so 1696– (a) Exactly, or almost exactly, as required. (b) Precise, exact; neat and tidy; fastidious, punctilious.
  • penurious 1703– Fastidious, fussy, over-particular. rare . Now Scottish .
  • fal-lal 1747– Affected, finicky, foppish; fond of frippery or finery; showy and insubstantial; fancy. Now rare .
  • ogertful 1754– Proud; fastidious, affected.
  • nackety 1756– Neat, particular; self-important. Also: ingenious, resourceful.
  • quiddling 1789– Given to or characterized by quiddling; consisting of or concerned with minute or insignificant detail; fussy.
  • pernickety 1808– Of a person: exacting about details; particular, careful; punctilious; spec. putting excessive emphasis on trivial or minor details; fussy. Also in…
  • pershittie 1808– = perskeet , adj.
  • taffety 1814– figurative . English regional ( southern ) and Newfoundland . Affectedly dainty; fastidious, esp. concerning food; picky.
  • hypercritic 1820– = hypercritical , adj.
  • faddy 1824– Of persons and personal attributes: Occupied with fads, particular about trifles, crotchety. Of things: Of the nature of a fad, taken up as a fad.
  • finicky 1825– = finicking , adj.
  • meticulous 1827– Originally: overcareful about minute details, overscrupulous. Subsequently usually in more positive sense: careful, punctilious, scrupulous, precise.
  • daintified 1834–
  • squeamy 1838– = squeamish , adj.
  • picksome 1855– Fastidious, particular; dainty; = picky , adj.¹
  • choosey 1862– Disposed to be particular in one's choice; fastidious, fussy.
  • picky 1867– Originally ( English regional ): having a dainty or (occasionally) small appetite. In later use more generally: fastidious, finicky, particular; choosy.
  • hyperaesthetic 1879– ( hyper-æsthetic ). Excessively æsthetic.
  • persnickety 1885– = pernickety , adj. ; (also) snobbish, snooty. Also as adv.
  • précieux 1891– = precious , adj. A.3. Cf. précieuse , adj.
  • perskeet 1897– Fastidious, pernickety, meticulous; demanding. Also: prim, prissy, prudish. Cf. perjink , adj.
  • tasty 1905– Fastidious. rare .
  • Nice Nelly 1922– North American colloquial ( depreciative ). Prudish, fastidious; overly concerned with respectability.
  • perfectionist 1942– Demanding or seeking perfection. Cf. perfectionistic , adj.
  • snickety a1960– Fussy, pernickety.
  • perfectionistic 1968– = perfectionist , adj. B.2. Also occasionally: spec. of or relating to perfectionism ( perfectionism , n. 1a).
Some are so nise , that they condemne generallie all sorts of diuinations.
The Spartans were a nice People in Point of Naturalization.
The Parlament is always very nice & curious in this point.
I find them very nice that no admitted to this correspondence.
I think this complexion is the most agreeable to black—One can't be too nice in suiting the complexion to the dress.
Good company requires only birth, education and manners, and with regard to education is not very nice . Birth and good manners are essential.
He is extremely nice in selecting his malt and hops.
Like the old Romans, never very nice in weighing how large a proportion of the people influenced the government.
  • nice 1584–1861 Particular, strict, or careful with regard to a specific point or thing. Obsolete .
  • tender a1641– Solicitous or careful to avoid or prevent something; chary of ; scrupulous, cautious, circumspect; reluctant, loth. Const. of , in .
Some also were of a nice bringing vp, only in cities or townes, or such as neuer (as I may say) had seene the world before.
Eloquence and gay wordes are..but the garnish of a nice time, the Ornaments that doe but decke the house of a State.
The Lards I commonly eat with, are People of a nice Conversation.
O' nice education but sma' is her share.
As conversation awakened the nicer emotions of her mind, that threw such a captivating grace around her.
As we could guess From his nice habits and his gentleness.
‘Truce, I beg!’ Said Osric, with nice accent.
Heavy field work'll spoil that girl. She'll lose all her nice ways and get rough ones.
‘Trash’ fish. (A nicer phrase is ‘underutilized species’—the fish that fishermen toss back into the sea).
  • polished a1382– Made smooth (and usually glossy) by friction. Also figurative .
  • dainteous c1386–1548 = dainty , adj.
  • turned c1440 figurative . Of language: polished, refined. Cf. later well-turned , adj. 2, sense II.10a. Obsolete .
  • courtly a1475– With positive connotation. Of a person, his or her attributes, character, behaviour, etc.: appropriate for the court of a monarch or similar ruler…
  • polite ?a1500– Of language, the arts, or other intellectual pursuits: refined, elegant, scholarly; exhibiting good or restrained taste.
  • delicate a1533– Refined in quality or nature; sophisticated, subtle.
  • court-like 1543– Appropriate for the court of a monarch or similar ruler; elegant, refined; courtly. Now rare .
  • civil 1551– Of a thing: highly-developed, advanced, sophisticated; refined. Now rare .
  • well-refined 1575– Highly purified. Also: very elegant or cultivated.
  • nice 1588– Refined, cultured; associated with polite society.
  • perpolite 1592–1648 Thoroughly or highly polished; = perpolished , adj. Chiefly figurative .
  • politic 1596 Scottish . Polished, refined, cultured. Obsolete . rare .
  • soft 1599– Refined, delicate.
  • terse 1628–1774 figurative . Polite, polished, refined, cultured: esp. in reference to language. Obsolete (passing into 3).
  • refine 1646– Refined; spec. designating a type of fine broadcloth.
  • refined 1650– Polished; not crude or vulgar. Free from rudeness or vulgarity; devoid of crude, rough, or uncouth elements; that befits a person of refinement.
  • elegant 1652– Of an action, feeling, pursuit, etc.: befitting a person of refinement and cultivated taste; refined. Cf. elegant arts , n.
  • genteel 1678–1728 Of an abstract or immaterial thing: refined; sophisticated; elegantly tasteful. Obsolete .
  • chaste a1797– figurative . Chastened, modest, restrained from all excess. Of tastes, qualities, etc.
  • spiritual a1806– Esp. of a person's face, features, etc.: expressive or suggestive of highly refined character, nature, or spirit; delicate, sensitive. Cf. spirituel …
  • aesthetic 1844– Of a person, etc.: having or showing an appreciation of the beautiful or pleasing; tasteful, of refined taste. Hence: being or resembling an aesthete.
  • raffiné 1865– Of a person: refined in manners or judgement, cultured, cultivated; (of language, etc.) polished, elegant.
  • nuttish 1869– colloquial . Smart, sophisticated. Now archaic .
  • too-too a1884–
  • sophisticated 1895– Of a person: free of naïvety, experienced, worldly-wise; subtle, discriminating, refined, cultured; aware of, versed in, the complexities of a…
  • lavender 1928– figurative . Refined, genteel, sentimental; hence (esp. of a man) effeminate, homosexual.
  • urbane 1659– Of a quality, action, etc.: characteristic of or befitting such a person; refined, sophisticated.
  • nice 1818– Refined, cultured; associated with polite society.
  • polished 1894– figurative . Refined, cultured, elegant; smooth, performed with skilful ease. Cf. polish , v. 2a.
If more nice wits censure my lines crooked, Thus I excuse, I writ my light remoued.
I had rather twenty nice Criticks should censure mee.
His judgment was so nice that he could never frame any speech beforehand to please himselfe.
Thus Criticks, of less Judgement than Caprice, Curious, not Knowing, not exact but nice , Form short Ideas.
Such digressions as these the nicest readers may endure, provided they are not too long.
To do him justice, he is a very nice critic, and not unskilled in poetry.
The Biggs would call her a nice Woman.
Though a well managed, innocent and select rink is quite possible, ‘ nice ’ girls would do well to abstain from those where a chance public shares the sport.
‘Do you consider it nice to make love to married women?’.. ‘It's certain that all the nice men do it.’
He had never wanted to marry a ‘ nice ’ girl: the adjective connoting..certain utilitarian qualities..apt to preclude the luxury of charm.
He came of nice people, in the peculiar sense in which the English use the word nice—meaning thereby, not that a family is necessarily either amiable or amusing, but merely that it possesses a certain degree of good breeding.
They took her to resort hotels..where she could meet nice Jewish boys.
  • good Old English– Of a person: distinguished by admirable or commendable qualities; worthy, estimable, fine. As a term of general commendation or approval. In early…
  • dowing c1175– †valiant, virtuous ( obsolete ); thriving.
  • well-thewed a1200–1642 Of an admirable character or disposition; well-behaved, good-mannered, virtuous. Also in extended use. Obsolete .
  • thewful ?c1225–1400 Full of or characterized by good qualities; good, virtuous, moral.
  • goodful c1275– Excellent, worthy, virtuous.
  • flourished a1375–1600 Adorned with flowers or verdure; figurative adorned with charms or virtues. Obsolete .
  • virtuous c1390– Of a person: possessing or showing virtue in life and conduct; acting with moral rectitude or in conformity with moral principles; free from…
  • honest a1393–1702 Of a person or society: of good moral character; virtuous, upright. Obsolete .
  • fine ?a1400–50 Of a person. Perfect in virtue; truly excellent. Chiefly used for the sake of rhyme. Obsolete .
  • thewed a1400–00 spec. Having good qualities or manners.
  • well-mannered c1400–1652 Having or characterized by good morals or habits; virtuous, upright. Obsolete .
  • well-conditioned a1425– Of good disposition, morals, or behaviour; having good qualities; right-minded. Now rare (chiefly archaic ).
  • moral c1443– Of a person, a person's conduct, etc.: morally good, virtuous; conforming to standards of morality.
  • mannerly a1500–49 Moral, upright. Obsolete .
  • virtual a1500–1898 Morally virtuous. Obsolete .
  • graceful 1611–1893 Of a person: of good character, virtuous. Obsolete .
  • well-moralized 1624– Having, governed by, or expressive of good or sound morals.
  • well-principled 1635– Holding, motivated by, or founded on good principles; esp. morally upright, honourable.
  • morate 1652–76 Mannered; spec. well-mannered, respectably conducted, moral.
  • unlicentious 1737– Not licentious.
  • respectable 1750– Of a person: having a good or fair standing in society, either because of status or (esp. in later use) through being regarded as having a good… In later use sometimes with the implication of (esp. excessive) conformity to social norms, or other depreciative connotations.
  • nice 1799– Respectable, virtuous, decent.
  • seemly ?c1225– Of conduct, speech, appearance: Conformable to propriety or good taste; becoming, decorous.
  • comely a1350– Appropriate; decent; proper; conforming to acceptable moral or social standards. Now archaic and rare .
  • seem c1400–25 Seemly, proper, fitting.
  • able a1500 Seemly, proper. Obsolete . rare .
  • setting 1535– Becoming, suitable, graceful. Obsolete exc. Scottish . Cf. sitting , adj. II.5.
  • decent 1545– In accordance with or satisfying the general standard of propriety or good taste, in conduct, speech, or action; esp. conformable to or satisfying…
  • civil 1582–1691 Of clothing, behaviour, etc.: decent, seemly, respectable; not showy, sober. Obsolete .
  • proper 1738– Conforming to recognized social standards or etiquette; decent, decorous, respectable, seemly. Frequently in predicative use.
  • gradely 1763– Of persons, their actions and attributes. In modern dialectal use, a general term of commendation; chiefly with reference to character: Decent…
  • decorous 1792– Characterized by decorum or outward conformity to the recognized standard of propriety and good taste in manners, behaviour, etc.
  • correct c1800– Of persons: Adhering exactly to an acknowledged standard. Of manners or behaviour.
  • proprietous 1815– Having or characterized by due (or sometimes excessive) regard for propriety; decorous, proper; fastidious, punctilious.
  • straight-cut 1911– slang . Virtuous, respectable.
  • substantious 1490– Prominent, respectable, reputable; wealthy, well-to-do. Cf. substantial , adj. A.I.6, A.I.7.
  • proper 1600–1891 Of good character or standing; honest, respectable, worthy. Obsolete .
  • creditable 1624– Respectable, decent, reputable, presentable. Now passing into sense I.3. In respect of social position or character.
  • decent 1712– Satisfying (in character, mode of living, behaviour, manners, etc.) the standard of one's position or circumstances; respectable.
  • pukka 1776– Originally South Asian or in South Asian context: sure, certain, reliable; genuine, bona fide, correct. Hence more generally: real, not sham; (of…
  • salonfähig 1905– Fit for (polite) society; socially respectable.
  • quite 1907– colloquial . Short for ‘quite a gentleman (lady, etc.)’; socially acceptable. Usually in negative contexts. Also modified by quite . Now rare .
  • resp 1922– = respectable , adj. A.3a.
‘But didn't he mean that he intended to marry a Baslehurst lady?’ ‘He meant it in that sort of way in which men do mean such things... But don't let us talk any more about it, mamma. It isn't nice .’
Many children form habits which are not nice , such as spitting on the floor, scratching the head, stretching themselves out upon a chair, yawning, etc.
Camberley..was rather like a shocked maiden aunt, who had been forced to look on at something not quite ‘ nice ’.
To shoot people in the sounds trite to say, it's not nice .
We readers begin to suspect that there is something not altogether nice about the beautiful, sorrowful Eugenia's relationship with her half brother, Edgar.
Whi hast thou drede?.. Ha, nyce herte, fy for schame! Ha, couard herte of love unlered!
Þe [ read ye] nyce men ond mased in ȝoure mende, Why nyll ye fighte aȝeyn aduersite?
The..wice Wich makith o king within hyme self so nyce hyme with-drowith Them to repref.
Men thinke they wax [ printed way] nice & effeminate.
An effeminate, nice , milkesop, puling fellow.
Their womans manhood by their cloaths perfum'd..Whose nice , effeminate and base behauiour Was counted comely.
Any thing that is Loose, Nice , and Effeminate.
You Britannia have been found of late, Soft to a Scorn, Nice , and Effeminate, From your Brave Ancestors degenerate.
Maiden, A Nice -Fellow, that values himself upon all Effeminacies.
  • womanly ?c1225– Frequently depreciative . Of a man: resembling a woman in appearance or behaviour; effeminate.
  • ferblet a1300 ? Effeminate.
  • womanish-made a1382 (Of a man) effeminate.
  • effeminate a1393– With reference to actions, personal characteristics, qualities, etc., stereotypically associated with… Chiefly depreciative . Originally, of a person…
  • nice a1393–1703 In early use: faint-hearted, timorous, cowardly, unmanly. Later also: effeminate. Obsolete .
  • soft c1450– depreciative . Weak in character, self-indulgent; (of a man or boy) effeminate, unmanly.
  • manless a1529– Lacking in manhood; †effeminate ( obsolete ); impotent. Now rare .
  • unmanly 1534– Not having or demonstrating qualities traditionally associated with men, such as courage, fortitude, self-control, etc.; unbefitting or…
  • cockney 1573–1881 Pampered; feeble, delicate, esp. affectedly so; lacking strength of character; undisciplined. Obsolete .
  • effeminated 1580– That has been made effeminate (in various senses).
  • unmanlike a1586– Lacking qualities traditionally associated with men, such as courage, fortitude, self-control, etc.; characterized by weakness or timidity…
  • milky 1602– Extended uses. Of a person, or a person's action, attribute, etc.: soft, gentle; (with unfavourable connotation) timorous, weak, compliant; unmanly…
  • enervate 1603– Wanting in strength of character; spiritless, unmanly, effeminate.
  • womanizing 1615– Feminine, womanish. Also: that makes feminine or womanly. Now rare .
  • emasculate 1622– = emasculated , adj. figurative . Unmanly, deprived of vigour; weak, effeminate.
  • womanized 1624– That has been made feminine or womanly.
  • softly 1643– Soft in character or disposition; gentle, considerate; unassuming; not harsh or rigid.
  • womanlish 1647 Womanish, effeminate.
  • unmasculine 1649– Not masculine; not having or demonstrating qualities traditionally associated with men.
  • emollid 1656–1775 Soft, tender, nice, effeminate.
  • ladylike 1656– depreciative . Of a man: having qualities or characteristics regarded as more appropriate to a woman, esp. one of high social standing; esp. …
  • enervated 1660– That is deprived of nerve and strength, literal and figurative ; effeminate, weakly.
  • emasculated 1701– figurative . Unmanly, effeminate.
  • petticoated 1708– Wearing a petticoat or petticoats; (hence) female, feminine, emasculated.
  • tea-faced 1728 ? having a sallow or effeminate countenance like one addicted to tea-drinking.
  • effeminized 1789– That has been made or become effeminate or feminine in nature or quality.
  • invirile 1870– Unmanly, effeminate.
  • epicene 1881– Of or relating to people or animals having characteristics of both sexes, or of neither; indeterminate in respect of sex; androgynous; hermaphrodite…
  • sissyish 1889– Resembling, characteristic of, or suggestive of a sissy. Cf. sissy , adj.
  • sissified 1898– Sissyish; that has been made into or made to resemble a sissy.
  • devirilized 1901–
  • cockless 1902– slang . Having no penis. Chiefly figurative : impotent; unmanly, weak. Cf. dickless , adj.
  • camp 1909– Esp. of a man or his mannerisms, speech, etc.: flamboyant, arch, or theatrical, esp. in a way stereotypically associated with some gay men.
  • pansy 1929– colloquial (frequently derogatory ). Affected; effeminate; homosexual.
  • campy 1932– That is camp in quality or style; campish.
  • queenly 1933– slang . Of, relating to, or characteristic of a homosexual man (see queen , n. II.13).
  • poncy 1937– derogatory slang (chiefly British ). Affected, pretentious, self-consciously refined or superior; overly fancy or elaborate; effeminate, homosexual.
  • pansyish 1941– colloquial (frequently derogatory ). Somewhat effeminate.
  • swishy 1941– slang . offensive . Characteristic of a homosexual man; effeminate. Also as n.
  • moffie 1954– Frequently derogatory and offensive . Of or relating to a homosexual or transvestite man; effeminate.
  • poofy 1956– slang (usually derogatory and offensive ). Characteristic of or designating a homosexual man; relating to or associated with homosexual men; effeminate.
  • femme 1963– Originally U.S. Frequently derogatory . Of a man (esp. a gay man): feminine or not traditionally or stereotypically masculine in appearance…
  • poofed-up 1964– slang (chiefly derogatory ). Dressed in an affected or effeminate manner. Also figurative .
  • minty 1965– U.S. slang . offensive and chiefly derogatory . Homosexual; esp. (of a man) conspicuously displaying or affecting female mannerisms, etc.
  • ponced-up 1970– derogatory slang (chiefly British ). Made overly elaborate, fancy, or effeminate; dressed up ostentatiously.
  • lavender 1979– figurative . Refined, genteel, sentimental; hence (esp. of a man) effeminate, homosexual.
Catotephas..ben litil of bodye and nyse [Latin iners ] of membres and slowe.
Thogh þat I be nyce , And negligent in keepyng of his lawe.
Nyce , Iners .
Nice , slow, laysie.
  • sweer Old English– Disinclined for effort, inactive; indolent, slothful.
  • foridled c1230– Given up to idleness.
  • idle a1300– Addicted to doing no work; lazy, indolent. †idle bellies , indolent sluggards or gluttons (cf. Titus i. 12).
  • faint c1325–1680 Avoiding exertion, shirking, lazy, sluggish.
  • recrayed 1340–1500 Physically or spiritually weary or weak; slothful, lazy.
  • slewful 1340–98 Slothful. Obsolete . rare .
  • nice a1398–1604 Slothful, lazy, sluggish. Obsolete .
  • sleuthy a1400 Slothful.
  • delicate ?c1400–1600 Given to ease or inactivity; lazy, indolent. Obsolete .
  • sleuthful c1400–1614 Slothful.
  • slothful c1400– Of persons, etc.: Full of sloth; indisposed to exertion; inactive, indolent, lazy, sluggish.
  • sloth 1412–1606 Slothful, slow.
  • lurdan c1480– Worthless, ill-bred, lazy.
  • lusking a1500–1600 Slothful, lazy.
  • droning 1509– Of the nature of, or exhibiting behaviour likened to, that of a male bee (see drone , n.¹ 1); lazy, indolent; engaged in or characterized by dull…
  • bumbard ?a1513 Lazy, idle.
  • slottery 1513– Scottish . Sluggish, slothful.
  • luskish 1533–1819 Slothful, lazy, sluggish.
  • desidious a1540–1656 Idle, indolent, slothful.
  • lazy 1549– Of persons (also of animals), their disposition, etc.: Averse to labour, indisposed to action or effort; idle; inactive, slothful.
  • slovening 1549– Idle, indolent; slovenly.
  • truant a1550– That is a truant, or plays truant; idle, lazy, loitering, esp. of a child, staying from school without leave; hence, wandering, straying.
  • sleuth 1567–70 Slothful, slow.
  • litherly 1573–1684 Idle, lazy.
  • truantly 1579– Having the qualities of a truant; characteristic of or befitting a truant.
  • dronish 1580– Of the nature of or likened to a male bee (cf. drone , n.¹ 1); esp. living on others; lazy, indolent, sluggish, inactive; engaged in dull or…
  • lubberly 1580– Of the nature of a lubber; coarse of figure and dull of intellect, loutish; clumsy; lazy; stupid; sometimes transferred of animals and inanimate…
  • truant-like 1583–
  • shiftless 1584– Lacking in resource; incapable of shifting for oneself; hence, lazy, inefficient.
  • sluggard 1594– Sluggish, slothful, lazy.
  • easeful 1596– Idle, indolent, slothful. Also in neutral sense: unoccupied, at rest; characterized by a lack of activity. Now rare .
  • fat 1598– Displaying the characteristics of a fat animal; slow-witted, indolent, self-complacent.
  • lusky 1604– Lazy, sluggish. (In quot. 1604 transferred .)
  • sweatless 1606– Without sweat; figurative without toil or labour, indolent, idle.
  • clumse 1611–1886 Benumbed with cold; hence, stupid, dull, stolid of mind; inept of hands, unhandy, unready, idle, lazy; in modern dialect, also, gruff, surly (cf. an…
  • loselly 1611–94 Like a losel, good-for-nothing, idle, lazy.
  • do-little a1613– Characterized by a lack of activity; doing little; lazy.
  • sluggardish a1627– Somewhat slothful.
  • pigritious 1638 Slothful, lazy.
  • drony 1653– Having the characteristics of a male bee (see drone , n.¹ 1), esp. lazy, indolent, sluggish; (also) characterized by dull or repetitive activity.
  • murcid 1656 Slothful; cowardly.
  • thokish a1682– See quots.
  • shammocking a1704– Awkward, clumsy; slovenly, untidy; idle, worthless.
  • indolent 1710– Of persons, their disposition, action, etc.: Averse to toil or exertion; slothful, lazy, idle.
  • huddroun 1721 According to Jamieson, Slovenly. Hence perhaps belly huddroun , ‘slow-belly’, sluggard, in Dunbar.
  • nothing-doing 1724–1842
  • desidiose 1727–1822 = desidious , adj.
  • lusk 1775– Lazy, sluggish.
  • slack-twisted 1794– Of a rope: Not tightly twisted. Hence figurative , of a loose, unsatisfactory character; lazy, inactive.
  • sweert 1817– = sweer , adj. 3 4.
  • bone-lazy a1825– Used as an intensifier with adverbial force in the sense ‘to the bone’, (hence) ‘very, extremely, excessively’ (cf. phrases P.1a.i); forming…
  • lurgy 1828–1902 English regional ( Cornwall and northern ). Idle, lazy. Obsolete .
  • straight-backed 1830 Lazy, idle. Cf. straight-back , n. Obsolete .
  • do-nothing 1832– That does nothing; idle, indolent. Also: characterized by doing nothing.
  • slobbish 1833– Of a person: that is, resembles, or behaves like a slob; esp. lazy; slovenly, especially with regard to physical exercise, personal hygiene and…
  • bone idle 1836– Extremely lazy or indolent; cf. bone , n.¹ compounds C.5.
  • slouch 1837– dialect . Clownish, loutish; slovenly. Also in combinations.
  • lotophagous 1841– Greek Mythology . That eats or lives on the fruit of the lotus, a fruit represented in Homer's Odyssey as inducing a state of dreamy forgetfulness…
  • shammocky 1841– = shammocking , adj. ; (also) shaky, infirm.
  • bein 1847– Of a horse: Well fed, lazy.
  • thoky 1847– See quot.
  • lotus-eating 1852– That lives in a state of idle contentment or luxury; characterized by or conducive to such a state; dreamy, idle, indolent. Cf. lotus-eater , n. 2.
  • fainéant 1855– That does nothing; indolent, idle.
  • sluggardly 1865– Lazy, indolent, slothful.
  • lazy-boned 1875–
  • do-naught 1879– = do-nothing , adj. rare .
  • easy-going 1879– Of a person: relaxed and tolerant; tending not to become worried or worked up about things; (also) fond of comfort, indolent.
  • lazyish 1892– Somewhat lazy.
  • slobbed 1962– colloquial (chiefly British ). With out . Inactive; lazy; very relaxed.
Be nyse myn hert as purse is of an ay.
Soche be the weake, feble, nise stomackes of many.
The bee is tender and nice , and onely liues in warm weather.
He..was of so nice and tender a composition, that a little rain or wind would disorder him.
But these are nice plants and are kept mostly under Glass's, ye aire being too rough for them.
I take blame..That I..longer to embrace that tender form, Trust its nice sense to the chill breeze of night.
The flowery mound, Where many a cherish'd tender blossom sprung, Where nice exotics wintery shelter found.
  • nesh Old English– Delicate, weak, sickly, feeble; unable to endure fatigue, etc.; susceptible (to cold, etc.).
  • tender ?c1225– Of weak or delicate constitution; not strong, hardy, or robust; unable or unaccustomed to endure hardship, fatigue, or the like; delicately reared…
  • weak 1340– Deficient in bodily vigour through age, sickness, privation, etc.; wanting in strength of the vital functions of the body; debilitated.
  • soft a1387– Not strong or robust; incapable of much physical endurance or exertion; of a weak or delicate constitution; frail.
  • delicate a1398– Of a person, etc.: having a weak or fragile constitution, not strong or robust; highly susceptible or vulnerable to injury, sickness, or disease…
  • nice c1450–1813 Not able to endure much; tender, delicate, fragile. Obsolete .
  • slender a1500– Denoting weakness or absence of robustness. †Also transferred of age, etc.: Tender, immature.
  • dainty 1562–81 Delicate (in health or constitution). Obsolete .
  • fine 1562– Of a person or a person's physical constitution: susceptible to illness or injury; easily affected by hardship or adverse conditions; delicate…
  • weakly 1577– Weak in constitution, not strong or robust, delicate.
  • dough-baked 1592–1888 figurative . Imperfect, deficient; lacking in spirit or conviction; ineffectual. Also: foolish, half-witted ( English regional ( south-western ) in…
  • lax 1732 Slack; not tense, rigid, or tight. Hence of bodily constitution or mental powers: Wanting in ‘tone’ or tension. Now somewhat rare .
  • flimsy 1742–63 Of persons or their constitutions: Frail, ‘delicate’. Obsolete .
  • lax-fibred 1762– lax-fibred , lax-flowered adjs.
  • doughy 1763– Of the complexion, face, or part of the body: resembling dough in colour or appearance, frequently as indicative of ill health; pallid, pasty; pale…
  • dauncy 1846– Sickly; delicate, not robust.
  • fragile 1858– Of persons, etc.: Of weak or tender frame or constitution, delicate (= frail , adj. , but used with an allusion to the primary sense).
  • slim 1877– Delicate; not robust.
  • chétif 1908– Sickly, thin, weak, esp. of a person's constitution; miserable, wretched.
  • tender 1614– Of animals or plants: Delicate, easily injured by severe weather or unfavourable conditions; not hardy; needing protection. tender annual , an…
  • hardy 1629– Horticulture . Of a plant: capable of surviving adverse conditions (esp. cold temperatures); (also) able to grow outside without protection…
  • sturdy 1695– Of a plant: Hardy.
  • nice c1710 Not able to endure much; tender, delicate, fragile. Obsolete .
  • tenderish 1798– Somewhat tender, rather tender.
  • half-hardy 1817– Of a plant: able to grow outdoors at all times except in severe frost, when shelter is required.
  • ironclad 1871– North American . Of a plant or plant variety: particularly robust and hardy; esp. able to withstand low temperatures and frost.
  • semi-hardy 1901– = half-hardy , adj.
We..spoile our childrens manners, by our overmuch cockering and nice education.
All the Roman Youth that had..grown effeminate with nice Living, joined and favoured Catiline.
  • delicate c1400– Of an activity, lifestyle, etc.: characterized by luxury or sensual pleasure; indulgent, soft. Now archaic and rare .
  • delicious ?c1450–1651 Involving (excessive) gratification of the senses; indulgent; (also) inducing the desire for sensual pleasures. Obsolete .
  • fleshpot 1535– A pot in which flesh is boiled. Chiefly in phrase the fleshpots of Egypt (see Exodus xvi. 3), or with allusion to that phrase: Luxuries or…
  • lascivious 1589– Inciting to lust or wantonness. †Also in milder sense, voluptuous, luxurious. Obsolete .
  • nice 1621–1720 Pampered, luxurious. Obsolete . rare .
  • mollitious 1629– Luxurious; sensuous.
  • luxurious 1650– Of things: Of or pertaining to luxury; characterized by or making a display of luxury.
  • luxuriant 1671– Misused for: luxurious , adj.
  • voluptuous 1816– Imparting a sense of delicious pleasure; suggestive of sensuous pleasures, esp. of a refined or luxurious kind.
  • de luxe 1819– Luxurious, sumptuous; of a superior kind.
  • plushy 1884– Chiefly colloquial . Luxurious, sumptuous; = plush , adj. B.2.
  • plush 1890– Luxurious, sumptuous; expensively stylish.
Thogh he sitte at his book bothe day and nyght In lernyng of this eluyssh nyce [ variant reading wise] loore, Al is in veyn..To lerne a lewed man this subtiltee.
I merveyled muche of no thing þat I I do now of this nyce sight.
Quhone I awoyk, my dreme it wes so nyce , Fra everie wicht I hid it as a vyce.
For there by straunge wonderous workes, dyuerse maner of nyce beestes and whall fishes.
Frome hensforth we shal neyther enuye nor reuerence the nyse frutefulnes of Stoidum, or Taprobana, or the redde sea.
I think this change is wonderus strange & nyce !
This purpois gosse, appeirs to me Sa wonder nyce and strange to be.
Nise , strange, nise Work, strang.
  • selcouth Old English–1815 Unfamiliar, unusual, rare; strange, marvellous, wonderful.
  • selly Old English–1540 Strange, marvellous, wonderful.
  • uncouth Old English– Of an unknown or unfamiliar character; unusual, uncommon, strange; marvellous. Now rare .
  • ferly ?c1225–1650 Strange, wonderful, wondrous, marvellous.
  • strange c1374– Unfamiliar, abnormal, or exceptional to a degree that excites wonder or astonishment; difficult to take in or account for; queer, surprising…
  • nice c1395–1703 Strange, rare, extraordinary. Obsolete .
  • ferliful a1400–1572 Fearful, wonderful.
  • monsterful c1460 Marvellous, extraordinary.
  • portentous 1553– Prodigious, marvellous; monstrous, extraordinary. Now rare .
  • miraculous 1569– Resembling a miracle; so extraordinary as to appear supernatural; remarkable, astonishing. Cf. miracle , n. 4.
  • vengible 1594–1610 Remarkable, extraordinary. Also as adv.
  • strangeful a1618 Full of strangeness.
  • phenomenous 1743– Extraordinary, remarkable, marvellous; = phenomenal , adj. A.2.
  • phenomenal a1850– Of the nature of a phenomenon ( phenomenon , n. 4); very notable or remarkable; prodigious, exceptional; ( colloquial ) that exceeds all expectations…
  • very like a whale 1859– Allusive, proverbial, transferred, and figurative uses of sense 1. Prov. phr. (to throw out) a tub to the whale : see tub , n.¹ 9b very like a whale …
  • weird and wonderful 1859– Colloquial phrase weird and wonderful , marvellous in a strange or eccentric way; both remarkable and peculiar or unfathomable; exotic, outlandish…
  • fourth-dimensional 1902– Of or relating to the fourth dimension, figurative superhuman, extraordinary; hence fourth-dimensionalism .
  • out of this world 1941– Frequently with hyphen. In neutral or derogatory contexts: unworldly; quite remarkable; (also) incredibly bad or repulsive. Also in attributive …
  • unreal 1965– colloquial (originally North American slang ). Incredibly or extraordinarily good or bad.
Maydens at her first weddyng, Wel nyse al þe first nyȝt.
Thay wer so nyss quhen men thame nicht Thay squeilit lyk ony gaitis.
Then be not nice Perseda as women woont, To hasty louers.
I ame sorie that ye vas so nyce uith the Lorde Murley, for he is my olde freinde.
Ere..The nice Morne on th'Indian steepe From her cabin'd loop hole peepe.
Now nice , then free, now grave, and then more common, There is no other Riddle but a Woman.
'Tisn't a Virtue, Lucia, but a Vice, To be so very coy! so very nice .
She nor nice nor coy Accepts the tribute of a joyless day.
The lasses o' the Cannogate, O, they are wond'rous nice ,—They winna gie a single kiss, But for a double price.
  • nice a1400–1823 Shy, coy, (affectedly) modest; reserved. Obsolete .
  • coy c1405– Of a person, esp. a woman: displaying shyness or modesty, esp. in matters of love or sex; not receptive to romantic or sexual advances. Often with…
  • coyly a1542–70 Coy; characterized by disdain or by modest shyness (cf. coy , adj. A.2a A.3a).
  • skeigh c1560– transferred . Of persons, esp. women. Hence: shy, coy, disdainful, proud.
  • coyish 1566– Somewhat coy (in various senses of the adjective).
  • skittish 1648– Inclined to show coyness or reserve.
  • maidenish 1749– Usually depreciative . Resembling a maiden, characteristic of a maiden, esp. with connotations of naivety or prudery.
  • maidish 1822– = maidenish , adj.
O I vnding, of all helping so naice .
The nycest to ressave Vpoun the nynis will nip it.
I found the Italians nothing nice to shew their strong forts to me and to other strangers.
She is the nicest creature in the world of suffering her perfections to be knowne.
They are extreme modest and bashful, very shy, and nice of being touch'd.
Virtue is nice to take what's not her own.
Virgins are nice to Love; I wou'd not have her forc'd; give her fair liberty.
  • argh Old English–1877 Inert, sluggish, lazy, slow, loath, reluctant.
  • slow Old English– With infinitive: not ready, prompt, or willing to do something; reluctant to do something.
  • unwilly c1200–1475 Unwilling ( to do something); averse.
  • sweer a1300– Loth, reluctant, unwilling, disinclined ( to do something).
  • unfain 1338– Not glad or delighted; ill-pleased, sorry; reluctant.
  • loath c1374– Averse, disinclined, reluctant, unwilling. Const. († for ) to with infinitive , also for (a person) to (do something), also with sentence as object…
  • dangerous c1386–1598 Reluctant to give, accede or comply; chary of . Obsolete .
  • eschew c1386–1420 Disinclined, loth, unwilling. Const. of or to with infinitive .
  • squeamous 1387–1563 = squeamish , adj. II.5. Obsolete .
  • obstinate ?a1439–1748 Reluctant. Obsolete . rare .
  • unprest a1500–70 Not prepared, ready, or willing.
  • ill-willing ?1520–79 Unwilling; in quot. 1579 as adv. Unwillingly. Obsolete .
  • evil-willing 1525–63 Unwilling, disinclined. Const. to with infinitive .
  • untowards 1525–48 = untoward , adj. 1 2.
  • untoward a1530–1665 Not having or showing inclination, disposition, or readiness to or for something; disinclined.
  • unwilling 1533– Const. to with infinitive, or with clause.
  • coy 1539– With of or infinitive . Reluctant to do something; hesitant, disinclined. Now rare .
  • strange 1548 Of persons. Sparing of (one's favour). Obsolete .
  • ill-willed 1549 Unwilling, reluctant. Obsolete .
  • dainty 1553–1612 With infin. : Disinclined or reluctant ( to do ).
  • relucting 1553– Struggling, resisting; reluctant.
  • squeamish ?1553–89 Averse, unwilling, or backward to do something. Obsolete .
  • nice a1560–1699 Shy, reluctant, or unwilling in regard of or to . Also with in or infinitive. Obsolete .
  • loathful 1561– Reluctant, retiring, bashful. Obsolete exc. Scottish .
  • unhearty 1583– Not hearty or cordial.
  • costive 1594– Slow, reluctant, or unwilling in action or speech; spec. (a) reluctant to give, niggardly, miserly; (b) unforthcoming, reticent, or uncommunicative…
  • unready 1595–1670 Not responding readily to command. Obsolete .
  • tarrowing a1598–
  • undisposed 1597– Not inclined or willing, indisposed ( to or to do something).
  • involuntary 1598– Unwilling († to do something).
  • backward 1600– Turning or hanging back from action; disinclined to advance or make advances; reluctant, averse, unwilling, loath, chary; shy, bashful.
  • retrograde 1602–1762 Backward; slow to act. Obsolete . rare .
  • unpregnant 1604– Not pregnant (in various senses of pregnant , adj.¹ ); (later) esp. not having offspring developing in the uterus.
  • scrupulous 1608–1851 With const .: Loth or reluctant, through scruples, to (do something); doubtful or suspicious of (a person or thing); chary of or in (doing…
  • unprone 1611– Not prone to or to do something.
  • refractory 1614–49 Not wanting or wishing something; unwilling, undesirous. With infinitive or of and gerund. Obsolete . rare .
  • behindhand a1616– attributive . Backward, tardy, hanging back.
  • nilling 1620–1876 That which does not desire or will something.
  • backwards 1627–83 = backward , adj. Obsolete . rare .
  • shy a1628– Fearful of committing oneself to a particular course of action; chary, unwilling, reluctant. Const. of , in , about , at , and to with infinitive.
  • retractable 1632–72 Perhaps: governable, tractable. Obsolete . rare .
  • reluctant 1638– Of a person: unwilling, averse; disinclined to do something.
  • lought a1641 = loath , adj. 4.
  • unapt 1640– Of persons: Not apt or prone, not readily disposed, to do something.
  • uninclinable 1640– ( un- , prefix¹ affix 1b.)
  • unbeteaming 1642 Unconsenting.
  • boggling 1645– That boggles; starting with fright; stickling; bungling.
  • averse 1646– With infinitive . Disinclined, unwilling, reluctant.
  • indisposed 1646– Not disposed or ‘in the mind’, disinclined, unwilling, averse ( to , or to do something).
  • aversant 1657 Disinclined, averse. Obsolete . rare .
  • incomposed 1660 Indisposed ( to ), not in the proper state for. Cf. compose , v. III.14.
  • disinclined 1703– Having a disinclination or slight aversion; not inclined; averse, indisposed.
  • unobliging 1707– Uncooperative, grudging; recalcitrant.
  • unconsenting 1713– ( un- , prefix¹ affix 4.)
  • uninclined 1729– ( un- , prefix¹ affix 2.)
  • tenacious 1766–1811 Persistently chary of or averse to any action. Obsolete .
  • disinclinable 1769– Having a disinclination; disinclined, indisposed.
  • ill-disposed 1771– Not disposed ( to do something); disinclined.
  • unaffectioned 1788– ( un- , prefix¹ affix 2.)
  • scruplesome c1800– Inclined to be scrupulous.
  • back-handed 1817 figurative . Keeping back one's hand, backward, remiss.
  • tharf 1828– transferred . Lumpish, stiff, heavy, slow; hence figurative reluctant, unwilling, diffident, tardy. dialect .
  • backward in coming forward 1830– backward in coming forward , reluctant, shy (to do something). Cf. to come forward at come , v. phrasal verbs PV.1.
  • unvoluntary 1834– ( un- , prefix¹ affix 1.)
  • misinclined 1837– Disinclined.
  • balky 1847– Given to balking (as a horse); reluctant to proceed; contrary, perverse.
  • retractive 1869 Having the effect of drawing someone back from an action, belief, etc.; dissuasive; (also) inclined to draw back. Obsolete .
  • grudging 1874– That grudges; †complaining, repining ( obsolete ); unwilling, reluctant; resentful, envying.
  • tharfish 1876– In same sense.
  • unwishful 1876– ( un- , prefix¹ affix 1.)
  • safety first 1917– Characterized by a disinclination or reluctance to take risks; cautious.
O man of law, let be thy subtelte, With nice gimpis and fraudis intricait.
Nyce laborynth, quhar Mynotaur the bull Was kepit.
The finer wit a man is of, the more he beateth it..about nice and intricate pointes.
The way to destruction is broad and plausible, the way to heaven nice and austere.
Opinions..about nice and intricate Matters that exceed the Capacity of ordinary Understandings.
It was the work but of one day to examine and to resolve this nice problem.
It becomes a very nice and curious question indeed.
One of the nicest problems for a man to solve.
Whether the agreement was actually violated is a question involving several nice points.
Boulter, who had the matter in hand..told him that in his opinion it was rather a nice point; he would like counsel's opinion on it.
It is a nice question how far you can go in this process without throwing out something vital.
  • nice ?a1500– Not obvious or readily understood; difficult to decide or settle; demanding close consideration; †intricate ( obsolete ).
  • perplexed a1522– Of a situation, condition, etc.: complicated, confused, involved. Of language, an account, etc.: causing confusion, difficulty, or doubt because…
  • perplex 1534– = perplexed , adj. A.2.
  • intricable a1540–1621 Entangling, perplexing; entangled, intricately involved.
  • implicate 1555–1637 Involved, intricate. Obsolete .
  • labyrinthed 1641– Having or characterized by a labyrinthine structure; forming or formed into a labyrinth; complex, intricate.
  • complexed 1646–1858 Made complex; complex, complicated, intricately involved.
  • knotted 1649– figurative . Knit together as with knots; formed like network; entangled, intricate.
  • complicated 1656– Consisting of an intimate combination of parts or elements not easy to unravel or separate; involved, intricate, confused.
  • plicated 1666 Complicated. Obsolete . rare .
  • complicate a1687– With the additional notion of Intricate, involved, difficult to analyse or unravel.
  • complex 1715– esp. Consisting of parts or elements not simply co-ordinated, but some of them involved in various degrees of subordination; complicated, involved…
  • Byzantine 1937– Reminiscent of the manner, style, or spirit of Byzantine politics; intricate, complicated; inflexible, rigid, unyielding.
  • dark Old English– Of a text, subject, author, etc.: difficult to understand; obscure or unclear in meaning. Now somewhat rare .
  • deep Old English– Difficult to understand or comprehend; profound; complex; abstruse, obscure.
  • dighel Old English–1300 Secret, obscure.
  • high Old English– Advanced, abstruse, difficult to comprehend; (also) †difficult to perform, arduous ( obsolete ). In later use frequently with nouns denoting a…
  • stark Old English–1910 Hard, unyielding. Of a question, science, etc.: hard to understand or answer; difficult, impenetrable. Obsolete .
  • dusk ?c1225–1582 figurative and in figurative contexts. Obscure; veiled from perception or understanding; made dull. Obsolete .
  • subtle 1340– Of an immaterial thing: difficult to understand, abstruse; complicated, involved; of the nature of or involving careful discrimination or fine points.
  • dim c1350– figurative . Not clear to the mind or understanding; obscure, faint.
  • subtile a1393– Of the nature of or involving careful discrimination or fine points; †difficult to understand, abstruse ( obsolete ); = subtle , adj. A.I.3.
  • covert 1393–1856 Of words: Of hidden or obscure meaning or reference. Now rare .
  • mystic a1398– Obscure, esoteric, mysterious; = mystical , adj. 2.
  • murk a1400–1579 Figurative uses. Obscure, hard to understand. Obsolete .
  • cloudy c1400– figurative . Darkened or clouded by ignorance, etc.; (of ideas, perception, language) dim, obscure, indistinct; not clear.
  • hard ?c1400– Difficult to understand, answer, or explain. Cf. hard word , n. 2.
  • misty c1400–1755 Obscure, unintelligible; difficult to understand or interpret. Obsolete .
  • unclear c1400– Not easy to understand; not obvious or intelligible.
  • diffuse 1430–1817 Difficult to understand, explain, or answer; complex, obscure; confused, vague; doubtful, uncertain. Obsolete .
  • abstract c1450– Difficult to understand; abstruse.
  • diffused ?1456–1624 Difficult to understand, obscure; confused; disordered. Cf. diffuse , adj. I.1 diffuse , v. II.6. Obsolete .
  • exquisite c1460–1665 Sought out, ‘recherché’. Of an expedient, explanation, reason: Sought out, ingeniously devised, far-fetched. Of studies: Abstruse.
  • obnubilous ?a1475–1679 Of the weather: overcast, cloudy. In extended use: indistinct, obscure.
  • obscure ?a1475– Not clear or plain to the mind, hard to make out or define; vague, uncertain; enigmatic, ambiguous. Formerly also ( Scottish ): †unknowable ( obsolete ).
  • covered 1484–1581 Concealed, hidden; secret; of concealed or ambiguous meaning. Obsolete .
  • intricate ?a1500– Of thoughts, conceptions, statements, etc.: Perplexingly involved or complicated in meaning; entangled; obscure.
  • perplexed a1500– Of a person: troubled by deep uncertainty, esp. because of a complicated or unexplained matter; confused, baffled, bewildered, confounded. Of a…
  • difficile a1513–1731 Not easy to understand or solve; = difficult , adj. A.1c. Obsolete .
  • endarked 1523 Darkened; ( figurative ) obscure, difficult to understand.
  • difficult 1530– Not easy. Hard to understand, answer, or explain; perplexing; complex, obscure.
  • privy 1532 Of words: difficult, recondite. Obsolete . rare .
  • smoky 1533– figurative . Having the obscuring, objectionable, or unsubstantial qualities of smoke. Obsolete .
  • secret 1535–1775 Kept from knowledge or observation; hidden, concealed. Abstruse, recondite; beyond ordinary apprehension or beyond unaided human intelligence. Of…
  • abstruse ?1549– Difficult to understand; obscure, recondite.
  • difficul 1552 = difficult , adj.
  • entangled 1561– In the senses of the verb: (a) caught or held fast in anything tangled; ensnared; (b) involved in difficulties; embarrassed, perplexed; †(c) (of an…
  • confounded 1572 Discomfited, abashed, put to shame or mental confusion; confused, disordered, etc.: see the verb.
  • darksome 1574– figurative . Of a text, author, etc.: difficult to understand; obscure or unclear in meaning.
  • obnubilate 1575–1860 Obscure, indefinite, cloudy.
  • enigmatical 1576– = enigmatic , adj.
  • confuse 1577–1737 = confused , adj. II.5.
  • mysterious a1586– Of speech, language, etc.: hard to comprehend, obscure, abstruse.
  • Delphic 1598–
  • obfuscate a1600 Rendered obscure, dark, or unclear; = obfuscated , adj.
  • enfumed 1601–58
  • Delphical a1603
  • obstruse 1604– = abstruse , adj.
  • abstracted 1605– = abstract , adj. A.1.
  • confused 1611– Said of perceptions or notions in which the elements or parts are mixed up and not clearly distinguished; also of utterance, language, the thinker…
  • questionable 1611–1891 Of doubtful or obscure meaning. Obsolete . rare .
  • inevident 1614– Not evident, not manifest; lacking evidence; not clear or obvious, obscure.
  • recondite 1619– Esp. of a subject of study or discussion: little known or understood; abstruse, obscure; profound.
  • cryptic 1620– Not immediately understandable; mysterious, enigmatic.
  • obfuscated 1620– Darkened; rendered obscure or unclear.
  • transcendent 1624–46 Of an idea or conception: Transcending comprehension; hence, obscure or abstruse. Cf. metaphysical , adj. A.I.1b. Obsolete .
  • Delphian 1625– Of or relating to Delphi, a town of ancient Greece on the slope of Mount Parnassus, and to the sanctuary and oracle of Apollo there; hence, of or…
  • oraculous 1625– Resembling the ancient oracles in obscurity or ambiguity; = oracular , adj. 1b. Now rare .
  • enigmatic 1628– Pertaining to, or of the nature of, an enigma, containing or resembling an enigma: ambiguous, obscure, perplexing. Of persons: Mysterious; baffling…
  • recluse 1629–1770 Of a word or idea: recondite, esoteric. Obsolete .
  • abdite 1635 Recondite; abstruse.
  • undilucidated 1635–38 ( un- , prefix¹ affix 2.)
  • clouded 1641– figurative . Involved in obscurity.
  • benighted 1647 Involved in obscurity. Obsolete .
  • oblite 1650 Dim, as if partly blotted out; indistinct, obscure.
  • researched 1653–76 Recondite, abstruse. Cf. recherché , adj. Obsolete . rare .
  • obnubilated 1658– Obscured, indistinct; darkened, clouded over.
  • obscurative 1664 Tending or serving to obscure or make dark; obscuring.
  • tenebrose 1677– figurative . Mentally or morally dark; gloomy; obscure in meaning.
  • hyperbyssal 1691 Of or belonging to surpassing depth or profundity.
  • condite 1695 Abstruse, recondite. Obsolete .
  • diffusive 1709–41 Difficult to understand, obscure; confused; = diffuse , adj. I.1. Obsolete .
  • profound 1710 Of personal attributes, actions, works, etc.: showing depth of insight or knowledge; marked by great learning.
  • tenebricose 1730– Full of darkness; dark, obscure; gloomy.
  • oracular 1749– Resembling the ancient oracles in mystery, ambiguity, or sententiousness.
  • opaque 1761– Hard to understand; obscure in meaning; not clear or lucid.
  • unenlightening 1768– ( un- , prefix¹ affix 4.)
  • darkling 1795 Dark (in various figurative senses); hidden; obscure; unenlightened; unhappy.
  • offuscating 1798–
  • unrecognizable 1817– Not recognizable; spec. not able to be recognized or identified from previous encounters.
  • tough 1820– Hard to believe or understand; taxing credulity or comprehension.
  • abstrusive 1848– = abstruse , adj.
  • obscurant 1878– That obscures or darkens; of or belonging to an obscurant; obscurantist.
  • deep down 1879– Of a feeling, belief, etc.: profound or firmly established; internal, private.
  • out-of-focus 1891–
  • unplumbable 1895– Unfathomable; immeasurably deep.
  • inenubilable 1903– That cannot be cleared of clouds or mist, or ( figurative ) of obscurity; indistinct; inexplicable.
  • non-transparent 1939– Not obvious, manifest, or evident; not readily perceived or understood.
  • plaited 1532– Resembling a plait; (in early use) spec. †involved, complicated, complex ( obsolete ).
  • unsimple ?1541– ( un- , prefix¹ affix 1. Cf. Middle Dutch onsimpel .)
  • intrinsicate 1562–1616 = intricate , adj. , involved, entangled.
  • Gordian 1606– Resembling the Gordian knot; consisting of twisted convolutions, intricate, involved.
  • involved 1643– Intricate, complicated.
  • contortuplicated 1648 Twisted and entangled.
  • puzzled 1659–1849 That has been made puzzling; complicated, intricate; tangled. Obsolete .
  • involute 1669– Involved; entangled; intricate; †hidden, obscure ( obsolete ).
  • woofed 1820– Woven; figurative intricate.
  • snaggled 1896– Knotty, intricate.
  • complexified 1962–
Nowe leauyng nice suttleties, lette us wey the matter it selfe.
They seeme to mince and slice the matter into certaine nice and subtile distinctions.
Without perplexing our minds about those more nice and subtile speculations.
Twixt that, and Reason, what a nice Barrier, For ever sep'rate, yet for ever near.
Your critick seems to me to be an exquisite Frenchman; his remarks are nice ; they would at least have escaped me.
The generality of people can appreciate far nicer differences than these.
When we desire to appreciate the nicer shades of meaning.
Everything was planned to the nicest detail.
There is a nice distinction between suicide, self-sacrifice, and martyrdom.
  • brief 1432–1616 fig. Limited, slight, restricted. Obsolete .
  • ride ?a1500 Moderate, small, slight.
  • nice 1561– Minute, subtle; (of differences) slight, small.
  • remote 1625– Slight, faint. In later use frequently ( colloquial ) in not to have the remotest : not to have the slightest idea, chance, etc.
  • slim 1671– Small, slight; of little substance; poor.
  • faint 1726– Producing a feeble impression on the senses or the mind; dim, indistinct, hardly perceptible. Of objects of mental perception, e.g. resemblance…
  • slightish 1761– Somewhat slight, slender, or small.
A very nice Resemblance.
You may its gently bending Tufts, the nicest Symmetry.
A nicer accommodation to their respective conveniency.
No words could describe with nicer accuracy the political movements of English dissenters.
The nice and perfect balance which is maintained between these two Forces.
He revelled in the nice calculation of chances.
Tovah Feldshuh was darkly beautiful and radiantly youthful... Her Romeo..was a nice match for her.
Our fallowschip exerce palestrale play.., Nakit worsling and strougling at nyse poynt.
The pearle of the word, must not be weighed in those scales that men commonly vse to weigh their yron, it is a nicer work.
The Watch I use to measure the time with in nice Experiments.
The indagation is often a task both nice and laborious.
A house carpenter seems to exercise rather a nicer and more ingenious trade than a mason.
Those who are engaged in making nice philosophical experiments.
For nice purposes the metal may be obtained in a state of purity by the following process.
Devices employed to determine the amount of electric force in the current..being purely arbitrary and founded upon no law,..could not be accurately depended upon for nice experiments.
It is by nice experiment and comparison that the precise point is determined.
  • just 1490– Of a statement, idea, judgement, etc.: in accordance with reason, truth, or reality; right; true; factually correct. Often with connotations of…
  • nice a1522– That requires or involves great precision or accuracy. Now rare .
  • exact 1533– Of actions, processes, investigations, knowledge, etc.: Accurate in detail, strict, rigorous.
  • narrow 1551–1679 Near, close. Coming near the truth. Obsolete .
  • rigorous a1564– Extremely detailed and thorough; precise, or concerned with precision; strictly accurate or exact.
  • point-vice 1574–1871 Perfect; exact.
  • curious 1614–1825 Minutely accurate, exact, precise. Obsolete .
  • rigid ?1626– Specific, precise; accurate, exact; (of a method, procedure, etc.) detailed and thorough, rigorous.
  • hard 1690– Strict, rigorous, uncompromising. Of an examination, analysis, etc.: rigorous, stringent; that does not evade or ignore potential problems.
  • strict 1749– Of truth, accuracy, etc.: Exactly and rigidly observed; exactly answerable to fact or reality.
  • deadly 1909– Characterized by dead accuracy.
The Fig tree, is of no high growth, neither nice in bodie, but grossely set and thick.
As Ladies wont, in pleasures wanton lap, To finger the fine needle and nyce thread.
Her loftie hand would of it selfe refuse To touch the daintie needle, or nice thred.
The pollicy may either last so long, Or feede vpon such nice , and watrish diet.
Glassie bubles, with the gamesome boyes Stretch to so nice a thinnes through a quill That they themselves breake.
Let me have the Bacon cut very nice and thin; for I can't endure any Thing that's gross.
  • subtle a1382– Having little thickness or breadth; thin, slender, fine. Now rare .
  • subtile c1392– Having little thickness or breadth; thin, fine; = subtle , adj. A.II.9a. Also figurative and in figurative contexts.
  • smilt c1400 ? Fine.
  • fine ?a1425– Very small in bulk, diameter, or thickness; extremely thin or slender.
  • thin a1425– Of small cross section in proportion to length; slender, tenuous, attenuated. (Usually said of a thing more or less cylindrical, as a wire, rod…
  • exile ?1440–1719 Slender, shrunken, thin; diminutive.
  • slender 1444– Having little thickness or solidity in proportion to extent of surface; slight or slim in size or structure.
  • tenuious 1495– = tenuous , adj. 1.
  • jimp ?a1513– Slender, slim, delicate, graceful, neat. (A Scottish or northern word, introduced in 19th cent. into English literature.)
  • lenye 1513–71 Fine, thin, slender.
  • fine-spun a1555– Spun or drawn out to a very thin, narrow, or fine form; delicate in texture; flimsy. Frequently (and in earliest use) in figurative contexts.
  • nice 1567–1749 Slender, thin, fine; insubstantial. Obsolete .
  • spindled 1584– Attenuated, thin, slender.
  • gracile 1590– Slender, thin, lean. Also figurative .
  • snever 1640– Narrow; slender, slight; neat.
  • tenuous 1656– Thin or slender in form; of small transverse measure or calibre; slim.
  • slim 1657– Slender, (gracefully) thin.
  • gracilious 1688 = gracile , adj.
  • gracilent 1727– Slender, thin. Also figurative .
  • twittery 1819–1912 Esp. of yarn or fabric: made from or characterized by unevenly spun, slender threads. Cf. twitter , n.² 1a.
  • flittery a1834–
  • attenuate 1848– Slender, thin; tapered, reduced to thinness.
  • spiry 1849– Characterized by slenderness or slimness of growth or form.
  • low-profile 1906– Designating a device, piece of equipment, etc., that is lower, slimmer, or that protrudes less than is usual for objects of its type.
  • matchlike 1906– Resembling a match; fine and slender.
  • slimline 1949– Slim, narrow, gracefully thin in style or appearance. Occasionally absol. as n.
My lord, you are to scrupulous, To vnadvised, to fearefull with out Cavse To stand vppon such nice excuses.
The letters were not nice , but of great weight.
In such a time as this, it is not meet That euery nice offence should beare his Comment.
You have no argument for this command, But your own nice , unnecessary thought, By which your virtue, may become a fault!
  • eathly Old English–1225 Inconsiderable, slight, trifling. Often in antithesis to eche (= eternal): Of short duration.
  • light Old English– Of small importance, consequence, or seriousness; trivial; slight. Of a sin: venial.
  • little Old English– Of things, feelings, actions, etc.: not of great importance or interest; trifling, trivial.
  • small ?c1225– Of a thing: of little or minor consequence, interest, or importance; trifling, trivial, unimportant. Now only in small morals , n.
  • single c1449–1640 Slight, poor, trivial. Obsolete .
  • easy 1474–1648 Often preceded by but . Small, slight, insignificant; mediocre; inferior. Cf. easily , adv. I.2. Obsolete .
  • triflous 1509–1662 Trifling; insignificant, trivial; frivolous.
  • naughty 1526–1806 Bad, inferior, substandard, worthless. In Scottish use also: unsubstantial, insignificant. Cf. noughty , adj. 3b. Obsolete .
  • slender 1530– Slight, small, insignificant, trifling.
  • slight 1548– Unimportant, trifling.
  • shrimpish 1549– Diminutive, puny, insignificant.
  • slipper 1567– Insignificant, trifling. rare .
  • truant a1572–1683 Trivial, trite; idle, vain. Obsolete . rare .
  • toyous 1581–1658 Of little or no value or importance; trivial, worthless.
  • trivious 1583–1677 = trivial , adj. A.II.5 A.II.6.
  • mean 1585 Of a thing, an animal, etc. Petty, insignificant, unimportant; inconsiderable. Now rare .
  • silly 1587– Of an inanimate object: weak, flimsy, trifling; lacking strength, size, or substance. Now Scottish and rare .
  • nice a1594–1684 Unimportant, trivial. Obsolete .
  • puny ?1594– Inferior in size, quality, or amount; insignificant; weak; diminutive, tiny.
  • puisne 1598–1810 Small, insignificant; petty; ineffectual, weak, puny. Obsolete .
  • pusill 1599–1663 Small, mean, weak.
  • whindling 1601– Weak, pining, puny; figurative trifling, petty.
  • sapless 1602– transferred and figurative . Of immaterial things, ideas, sayings, etc.: Destitute of inner worth, insipid, trivial, pointless.
  • non-significant 1603– Not significant.
  • poor 1603– Slight, insignificant, of little consequence. Now rare .
  • unsignificant 1603–73 Not significant, unmeaning; insignificant. (Frequently 1635–1665.)
  • flea-bite 1605– attributive .
  • perishing 1605– colloquial . Confounded, troublesome; insignificant. rare before mid 19th cent.
  • lank 1607–1780 Loose from emptiness; not filled out or plump; shrunken, spare; flabby, hollow. Of immaterial things. Also figurative . Obsolete .
  • weightless 1610– Of immaterial things.
  • fond a1616–45 Of a thing: valued only by fools, trifling, trivial. Obsolete .
  • penny farthing 1615– Insignificant; ineffective.
  • trivial a1616– Of small account, little esteemed, paltry, poor; trifling, inconsiderable, unimportant, slight.
  • unweighty 1621– ( un- , prefix¹ affix 1. Cf. German unwichtig , Danish uvigtig .)
  • transitory 1637–73 Trifling, insignificant. Obsolete . rare .
  • twattling 1651 Petty, trifling, paltry: = twaddling , adj. 1b. Obsolete . rare .
  • inconsiderate 1655–1700 Not held in consideration, unconsidered; of no importance; inconsiderable, trifling. Obsolete .
  • unserious 1655– ( un- , prefix¹ affix 1.)
  • nugal 1656 Trifling, trivial.
  • small drink 1656–59 Trivial, of no consequence. Obsolete .
  • slighty 1662– Slight, unimportant, trivial; also, unsubstantial, slender, weak.
  • minute 1668–1872 Of very little consequence or importance; insignificant, petty, trivial. Obsolete .
  • paddling 1679–1831 English regional ( East Anglian ) and U.S. Petty, insignificant, piddling. Obsolete . rare .
  • snitling 1682 ? Trifling.
  • retail 1697–1883 Of secondary importance or value; petty, trivial. Obsolete .
  • Lilliputian 1726– Of or pertaining to Lilliput or its inhabitants; hence, of diminutive size; petty.
  • vain 1731– Trivial, unimportant. rare .
  • rattletrap 1760 Trivial, trifling. Obsolete . rare .
  • peppercornish 1762– Of very small value; (also) = peppercorny , adj.
  • peppercorn 1791– Of the size or value of a peppercorn; very small, insignificant, trifling.
  • underling 1804– Trivial, unimportant.
  • venial 1806– In general use.
  • lightweight 1809– Insignificant, inconsequential, trivial; slight; lacking intelligence or profundity. Also in a more neutral sense: not serious, light-hearted, breezy.
  • floccinaucical 1826– Inconsiderable, trifling.
  • small-bore 1833– (a) Designating or relating to a firearm with a narrow bore (in international and Olympic shooting generally.22 inch calibre or 5.6 millimetre bore)…
  • minified 1837 Diminished in importance or effect. Obsolete . rare .
  • trantlum 1838– attributive or as adj. Trifling.
  • piffling 1848– Inconsequential, trivial; derisory.
  • tea-tabular 1855– Pertaining to the tea-table.
  • potty 1860– derogatory . Feeble, indifferent; petty, insignificant, unimpressive. Now chiefly with little .
  • whipping-snapping 1861– Diminutive, insignificant.
  • tea-gardeny 1862– Resembling, or having the style of, a tea-garden ( tea-garden , n. 1).
  • quiddling 1863– Given to or characterized by quiddling; consisting of or concerned with minute or insignificant detail; fussy.
  • twaddling 1863– Petty, paltry, trifling, insignificant: = twattling , adj. 3. rare .
  • fidgeting 1865– In senses of the verb.
  • penny ante 1865– Insignificant, trivial.
  • feather-weighted 1870– Trifling, unimportant.
  • jerkwater 1877– In extended use: small, insignificant; inferior. Frequently in jerkwater town (cf. jerk , adj.² B.1a).
  • midget 1879– figurative . Underdeveloped; weak, inferior, or insignificant in extent, character, quality, etc.; puny.
  • mimsy 1880– Prim; careful; affected; feeble, weak, lightweight. Also (occasionally) as adv.
  • shirttail 1881– depreciative . Esp. of a place: small; of little or no significance; spec. designating a trader or business operating on a very small scale.
  • two-by-four 1885– North American and Caribbean . A small or insignificant thing or person. Usually as a modifier. Cf. two-bit , adj.
  • footle 1894–1920 Trivial, foolish. Obsolete .
  • skittery 1905– Trifling.
  • footery 1929– Trivial, trifling; awkward, fiddly. Cf. footering , adj.
  • Mickey Mouse 1931– In figurative use (usually derogatory ). Designating a person or thing deemed to be lacking in value, size, authenticity, or seriousness…
  • chickenshit 1934– coarse slang (originally U.S. Military ). Trivial, insignificant.
  • minoritized 1945– Originally: belonging to or consisting of a minority. In later use chiefly: (of a person, group, concept, etc.) made into, treated as, or placed in…
  • marginal 1952– Of minor importance, having little effect; incidental, subsidiary (sometimes with to ).
  • marginalized 1961–
  • tea party 1961– attributive of attitudes, behaviour, etc., held to be typical of a tea party; bland, insipid, trite, trivial.
  • little league 1962– In extended use: relatively minor or insignificant.
  • marginalizing 1977–
  • minnowy 1991– Of the nature of or resembling a minnow. Chiefly figurative : small, meagre; of little significance.
We imputed it to a nice & scholasticall curiositie in such makers.
His company is like to be shunned, as of a nice observer of mens actions and manners.
Some Peasants, not t' omit the nicest Care, Of the same Soil their Nursery prepare.
Nicer inquiries into the Structures of the Parts.
Upon a nice examination..I could discover nothing resinous in them.
It fluctuates..perceptibly to a nice observer.
The cases may be strictly parallel in every visible respect, as tested by the nicest observations.
  • curious 1570–1743 Careful as to the standard of excellence; difficult to satisfy; particular; nice, fastidious. Obsolete . Particular about details, or as to manner…
  • nice 1589–1864 That enters minutely into details; meticulous, attentive, sharp. Obsolete .
  • scrupulous 1638– Minutely exact or careful (in non-moral matters); strictly attentive even to the smallest details; characterized by punctilious exactness.
  • elaborate 1649– Of an investigation, a study, an operation, etc.: Conducted with great minuteness. Hence transferred applied to personal agents or their attributes…
  • morose 1695–96 Scrupulous, painstaking. Obsolete .
  • minutiose 1868– = minutious , adj. Also (occasionally): of the nature of or composed of minutiae.
  • minutious 1891– Characterized by attention to very small details; concerned with or attentive to minutiae.
  • meticulous 1952– Originally: overcareful about minute details, overscrupulous. Subsequently usually in more positive sense: careful, punctilious, scrupulous, precise.
Such a man was Argalus, as hardly the nicest eye can find a spot in.
If there be present here, Any one, whose nicer eare: Taskes my Measures, as offending.
The nice eye here epitomiz'd might see Rich Persia's wealth.
The Numbers harsh appear, And the rough Language grates the nicer Ear.
A nice pallate in good liquor had made my landlord a favourite companion.
Dull though thy tympanum, her nicer ear Catches a thunder-growl from yonder sphere.
Gifted..with a peculiarly nice eye for detecting those analogies.
The nice eye can distinguish grade and grade.
Works divine..suffered only to be scanned (With fond touches of the hand) By the nice appraising eye.
The Quebec native rode for 15 years and has a nice eye for horse flesh.
Silverman also has a nice ear for the overdetermined resonances that sound throughout Poe's life.
  • delicate a1533– Capable of exceptionally subtle or acute perception, feeling, appreciation, etc.; highly sensitive to nuance or subtlety.
  • fine a1566– Of a sense, physical faculty, measuring instrument, etc.: capable of delicate perception or discrimination; sensitive.
  • fine-headed 1574– †(a) Having a fine mind, clever; subtle or ingenious in argument; given to making fine distinctions ( obsolete ); (b) having an attractive…
  • nice 1593– Of the eye, ear, etc.: able to distinguish or discriminate to a high degree; sensitive, acute.
  • refining 1595– That refines (in various senses); spec. (formerly) subtle or oversubtle in thought or language; (now usually) that makes a person or thing more…
  • refined 1607– Of thought, etc.: raised to a high degree of subtlety, refinement, or precision. Now merged with or understood as sense A.1c.
  • point-device 1639 Perfectly correct or precise, esp. in matters of dress or appearance; scrupulous, neat, fastidious.
  • exquisite 1643– Of the power of feeling, bodily or mental, the senses, etc.: Keenly sensitive to impressions; acutely susceptible of pain, pleasure, etc…
  • nice-discerning 1745–1820
  • sensitive 1831– Esp. of a person's face, features, etc.: expressive of or conveying sensibility; fine, delicate.
  • feelingful 1943– Full of feeling; characterized by strong emotion, sensitivity, or sympathy.
So devoutly nice Are Priests in handling reverent sacrifice, And nice in searching wounds the Surgeon is As wee, when wee embrace, or touch, or kisse.
Thy twisted Plott so nice a hand hath spun, You'd sweare it were not only made, but done.
One Person at Work, who was exceeding slow in his Motions, and wonderfully nice in his Touches.
The nicest artist cannot make a feather or the leaf of a tree.
Jobs that require both a nice hand, and a contriving head.
She lay buried in the bosom of the solid rock, whence his nice hand and searching instrument of steel, gave her release.
He sketches phases of it..and when his data are ample, he does so with a nice hand.
She let him treat her ankle and put liniment on it... ‘It's coming along,’ said Joe. ‘Well, you've got a nice touch, Joe’.
  • nice a1631– Delicate or skilful in manipulation; dexterous. Also figurative .
Virgil..was of too nice a Judgment to introduce a God denying the Power and Providence of the Deity.
With nice Discernment see Ye quench not too the Sparks of nobler Fires!
We cannot call their morals pure, Their judgment nice , or their decisions sure.
No people on earth had so nice a sense of the morally graceful.
His style is not above mediocrity, nor does he evince any nice sense of elegance and form.
Just at the moment when you need your memory and a nice sense of discrimination, these faculties take to themselves wings and fly away.
There is nice judgement needed to decide just when to come to the refinement of adding the infusion of a pint or so of strong black Darjeeling tea.
To set so rich a maine On the nice hazard of one doubtfull houre? It were not good.
Vnderstanding on what nice tearms the life of the Blacke-Prince..did stande.
We bless Propitious Heaven, which..has directed Your Majesty in these Nice and Critical times.
You know my itch after accounts of..the true state of things at this nice juncture.
They are impatient to be gone, for their stay is dangerous; mine begins to be somewhat nice , and requires good speed.
It has been a damned nice thing—the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life.
  • unsicker ?c1225– Uncertain; unsafe; insecure.
  • uncertain a1382– That cannot be relied on to produce a particular result.
  • unsad c1384–1495 Not firm or steadfast; unreliable.
  • untristy a1387–1540 Faithless; unreliable.
  • untrusty a1387– Untrustworthy, not to be trusted (to), unreliable. Of things.
  • unsure c1412– Marked or characterized by uncertainty or unsteadfastness; dependent on chance or accident; liable to fail; uncertain, precarious.
  • fallible c1425– Of an observation, opinion, rule, argument, etc.: liable to be erroneous; that cannot be relied on with certainty.
  • slipper c1430– Of conditions: On which one cannot depend; having no stability or certainty.
  • fickle a1450 False, deceitful, treacherous. Obsolete .
  • frivol 1488 Fickle, unreliable.
  • slidder ?a1500–78 figurative . From which one may easily slip or fall; uncertain, mutable.
  • casual a1535–1729 Subject to chance or accident; frail, uncertain, precarious. Obsolete .
  • slippery 1548– Of conditions, affairs, etc.: Unstable, uncertain, insecure; that cannot be relied upon as lasting or assured. (Cf. 1b.)
  • slippy 1548– = slippery , adj. , in various literal and figurative senses.
  • failable 1561–1652 Liable to fail or give way; unreliable.
  • doubtful 1562– Of uncertain issue.
  • lubricious 1584– = lubricous , adj. , in various senses.
  • slope 1587 Affording no certainty. Obsolete . rare .
  • queasy 1589–1608 Of a matter or concern: uncertain, hazardous, tricky. Obsolete .
  • unconfirmed c1592– Not strengthened or fortified; not yet made firm or sure.
  • nice 1598–1822 Critical, doubtful; full of risk or uncertainty. Obsolete .
  • catching 1603–1914 Of the weather: changeable, unsettled; showery; (of rain showers) unpredictable. Also of a period of time: having unsettled weather. Cf. catchy , adj. …
  • loose 1603–88 Of conditions, undertakings, or engagements: Lacking security, unsettled. Obsolete .
  • precary 1606–63 = precarious , adj. 1.
  • ambiguous 1612–1916 Of an event, course of action, etc.: that has an uncertain outcome or conclusion; that could unfold in a number of different ways. Obsolete .
  • treacherous 1612– figurative . Of things: Deceptive, untrustworthy, unreliable; of ground, ice, etc., unstable, insecure.
  • unsafe 1615– Not to be trusted to; unreliable.
  • unsured a1616– ( un- , prefix¹ affix 2.)
  • precarious 1626– Esp. of a right, tenancy, etc.: held or enjoyed by the favour of and at the pleasure of another person; vulnerable to the will or decision of others…
  • lubric 1631–60 figurative . Slippery, shifty; unsteady, unsettled; prone to danger or error. Obsolete .
  • dubious 1635– Of uncertain issue or result.
  • lubricous 1646– figurative . ‘Slippery’, shifty; unstable; elusive.
  • unestablished 1646– Not established or firmly settled.
  • unfixed 1654– figurative . Unsettled, uncertain, undetermined; fluctuating, variable.
  • unsecure ?a1685–93 Const. of , or to with infinitive.
  • unreliable 1810– Not reliable; that cannot or should not be relied on.
  • unproven 1836– Not tested or tried; (hence also) not reliable or trustworthy. Cf. unproved , adj. 1.
  • untrustworthy 1846– ( un- , prefix¹ affix 1.)
  • shady 1848– colloquial . Of questionable merit or prospects of success; uncertain, unreliable.
  • wobbly 1877– Wavering, uncertain, or insecure; unreliable, unstable.
  • Kaffir 1899– slang ( derogatory and now offensive ). In southern African contexts: inferior or of a poor quality; inept, clumsy; contemptible, dishonest.
  • independable 1921– Not dependable; untrustworthy; not to be depended upon .
  • dodgy 1961– British colloquial . Of poor quality, unreliable; questionable, dubious.
  • temperamental 1962– Of a person: liable to peculiar moods, having or giving way to an erratic or neurotic temperament. Hence, of a thing: behaving erratically or…
  • sketchy 1982– colloquial (originally U.S. ). That seems or is considered to be potentially dangerous, disreputable, or untrustworthy.
A Treatise to be written of purpose, and with deliberation vppon that nice Subiect.
Things of this nature are so nice , and kickish, the least Error renders them irretriveable.
You are upon a touchy Point, and therefore I hope you will treat so nice a subject..with proportionable caution.
I hope you had Presence of Mind to do this.—For it was a nice Part to act.
For several years in the nicest political negociations.
On a subject so nice It's a delicate matter to give one's advice.
'Twas agreed an appeal to the sky Should be made in a matter so nice .
  • brickle 1568–1816 figurative . Delicate; tricky, requiring cautious handling. Obsolete . rare .
  • kittle 1568– Ticklish; difficult to deal with, requiring great caution or skill; unsafe to meddle with; as to which one may easily go wrong or come to grief…
  • tickle 1569– = ticklish , adj. 5. Now dialect .
  • delicate 1574– Of a matter, situation, procedure, etc.: that requires skilful or careful handling; tricky, sensitive.
  • trickle 1579–94 Tricky, treacherous; ticklish; requiring caution; = tricky , adj. 2.
  • chary 1581 Requiring care or careful handling. Obsolete .
  • ticklesome 1585– That tends to tickle; difficult, critical, delicate, precarious, ticklish. Now dialect .
  • ticklish 1591– Liable to end in disaster unless treated with great care; needing cautious handling or action; delicate, critical, precarious, risky, hazardous.
  • jealous 1600– transferred . Requiring suspicious or careful vigilance: delicate, ticklish. ? Obsolete .
  • tender 1625– Of things immaterial, subjects, topics, etc.: Easy to be injured by tactless treatment; needing cautious or delicate handling; delicate, ticklish.
  • nice a1630–1858 Requiring tact, care, or discrimination in handling. Obsolete .
  • thorny 1653– figurative . Full of points of contention or difficulty; difficult to handle; delicate, ticklish.
  • parlous 1657–1882 Risky to deal with; awkward, difficult, tricky. Obsolete . rare .
  • tricksy 1835– That is apt to play tricks upon one; that needs cautious handling: = tricky , adj. 2, ticklish , adj.
  • niggling 1851– Of a thing, activity, etc.: fiddly, finicky; awkward to execute or handle. Now rare .
  • tricky 1868– Having the deceptive character of a trick; containing unexpected difficulties; needing cautious action or handling; risky, catchy, ticklish. collo …
  • catchy 1874– That entraps or is designed to entrap a person; that catches a person out; deceptive (now somewhat rare ). Formerly also: †difficult to manage or…
  • pernickety 1884– Of work, a task, etc.: requiring particular care and attention; ticklish, intricate.
  • trickish 1900– = tricky , adj. 2; ticklish , adj. 5.
  • fiddly 1926– Requiring time or dexterity; pernickety.
Ile prooue it on his body if he dare, Dispight his nice fence, and his actiue practise.
All at once thir Reeds Put forth, and to a narrow vent appli'd With nicest touch.
The largest and nicest knowledge of the English Language, of any man living.
That critical period of study, on the nice management of which their future turn of taste depends.
To pass them from the leeward..required nice steerage.
With nicest skill and art,..A little model the Master wrought.
He never acquired a nice laboratory technic. He would fail repeatedly in some perfectly sound experiment because of careless procedure.
  • right Old English– That agrees with some standard or principle of correctness; consonant with the facts; correct, true.
  • namely ?c1225 Precise, proper. Obsolete . rare .
  • leal c1330– True, genuine; real, actual; exact, accurate; very (truth). Of a blow or shot: Well-aimed, hitting the mark. ? Obsolete .
  • very 1338–1657 Exact or precise, as opposed to approximate ; = true , adj. A.III.6. Obsolete .
  • true c1400– In accordance with a standard, pattern, or rule; accurate, exact, correct; ( Music ) correct in pitch; exactly in tune.
  • just c1425– Of a copy, translation, etc.: that conforms exactly to an original, or correctly represents one; accurate. Now rare .
  • exquisite 1541–1797 Carefully ascertained or adjusted; accurate, exact. Of an action, investigation, etc.; whence of persons or agents: Careful, curious, minute. Obsolete …
  • precise ?a1560– Neither more nor less than; exact, perfect, complete. Opposed to approximate .
  • jump 1581–1828 Coinciding, exactly agreeing; even; exact, precise.
  • accurate a1599– Esp. of information, measurements, or predictions: exact, precise; conforming exactly with the truth or with a given standard; free from error.
  • nice 1600– Minutely or carefully accurate.
  • punctual 1608–1831 Exact in every point; precise, accurate. Obsolete .
  • press ?1611–75 Chiefly of language or mode of expression: precise, exact in detail.
  • square 1632– Precise, exact; †certain.
  • exact 1645– Of ideas, images, representations, expressions, descriptions, resemblances, etc.: Perfectly corresponding, strictly correct, precise, accurate.
  • unerring 1665– Corresponding with the utmost exactness or closeness to some standard or aim.
  • proper 1694 Suitable for a specified or implicit purpose or requirement; appropriate to the circumstances or conditions; of the requisite standard or type…
  • correct 1705– In accordance with fact, truth, or reason; free from error; exact, true, accurate; right. Said also of persons, in reference to their statements…
  • pointed 1724– Exact to a point; precise. Now English regional ( northern ) and Scottish .
  • prig 1776– Priggish, precise; proper, exact. rare .
  • precisive a1805– Characterized by precision; precise, exact.
  • as right as a trivet 1835– as right as a trivet , thoroughly or perfectly right (in reference to a trivet's always standing firm on its three feet).
  • spot on 1936– Usually in predicative use. Completely accurate; exactly right; perfect.
To pease his deeds, by her nice weights and measure.
To Daved Lowgnes vyff after the coumpes wos nies 20 li. 16s.
Imploying a nice pair of Gold Scales..I found that this Powder weigh'd somewhat..more than twice so much common Water.
You will find this plain and simple Instrument, the nicest Hygrometer of any, for it will show you very small Alterations.
A watery dew..which being committed to a nice scale, may probably be found to be equal in gravity to a drop of rain.
Martin's mathematic skill must fail To graduate, and grave, so nice a scale.
Weigh arguments in the nicest intellectual scales.
  • true c1392– Of an instrument, mechanical part, etc.: accurately formed, positioned, or aligned; correctly calibrated. Also of a line or something linear…
  • just ?1556– †(a) (Of an instrument) marked by or adapted to precision ( obsolete ); (b) (of a natural action, process, etc.) uniform in operation, regular, even…
  • precise 1561– Of an instrument: exact, accurate.
  • delicate 1581– Of an instrument: capable of detecting or measuring very slight changes, quantities, signals, etc.; sensitive. Also of a measurement: precise.
  • nice a1628–1875 Of an instrument or apparatus: capable of showing minute differences; finely poised or adjusted. Obsolete .
  • exact 1665– Of methods, instruments of research, language, etc.: Characterized by precision, not admitting of vagueness or uncertainty. exact sciences n. those…
  • sensible 1678– In extended use. Of a measuring instrument, substance, etc.: readily affected by physical stimuli or external forces; responsive to or recording…
  • sensitive 1820– In various extended uses, of a thing. See also sense A.5b. Of a measuring instrument: responsive to or recording slight changes of condition, readily…
  • precision 1875– Possessing or intended to possess exactness of performance, execution, or construction.
  • pin-sharp 1933– Acute, piercing; accurate. Esp. of a visual image or camera: exhibiting high resolution; extremely precise or sensitive.
Something nice and costly he could eat.
What a profuseness in eating, how his Table abounded, in what was nice as well as necessary.
This was but a pretence to provide some nice Bit for himself.
We sent her up three or four plates of the nicest things that were at table.
Sunkets .., dainty bits; nice feeding.
Some of these pastries would appear very nice to us in the present day.
Her sex's universal restorative... ‘You shall have a nice cup of tea.’
Would you like a nice drink?
The dimity world of the Nice -Cup-of-Tea.
People coming out of the pub after a few jars..just wanted their chips and maybe a bit of cod with a nice crispy batter on it.
  • good Old English– Pleasing, appealing, or satisfying to the senses. Pleasant to eat or smell; tasty, appetizing; fragrant. Also in figurative contexts.
  • liking Old English–1695 That is pleasing or likeable; pleasant, agreeable, attractive. Also (of food): tasty, delicious. Frequently with to .
  • lickerous c1275–1603 Pleasing or tempting to the palate. Also gen. and figurative : Sweet, pleasant, delightful.
  • delicious a1325– Extremely pleasing to the senses, esp. to the taste or smell; providing great sensual pleasure; delectable; (now usually) very appetizing, highly…
  • dainty a1382– Pleasing to the palate, choice, delicate.
  • daintiful 1393–1440 = dainty , adj.
  • delicate a1398– Of food or drink: very pleasing to the taste; delicious; choice. Now rare .
  • merry a1398–1582 Of an odour: pleasant, fragrant. Of a fruit, plant, etc.: sweet-smelling, aromatic. Obsolete .
  • savourly c1400– Having a pleasant taste or fragrance; full of savour (in various senses of the noun), savoury.
  • licious c1420–1670 = delicious , adj. & n.
  • savourous a1425– Having a (usually pleasant) flavour or odour; appetizing, fragrant.
  • lusty c1430–50 Pleasing, pleasant. Obsolete . Pleasant to the taste. Obsolete .
  • feelsome a1450– Pleasing to the senses.
  • nutty a1450– Resembling a nut or nuts in flavour, colour, etc.
  • seasonable a1475 Capable of serving as seasoning; tasty, savoury. Obsolete . rare .
  • delicative c1475–1510 Delightful, luxurious; delicious; (of a person) given to or addicted to pleasure or luxury. Also as n. : a delicious or choice food, a delicacy.
  • unctuous 1495– Of meat: Greasy, fat, rich. Now archaic .
  • well-tasted a1500– Having a pleasant flavour; tasty. Also figurative . Now archaic and rare .
  • daintive 1526 = dainty , n. , dainty , adj.
  • savoury 1533– Of food or drink: having a salty, piquant, or ‘umami’ taste or flavour; not sweet. Also: of or relating to such food or drink. Cf. umami , n.
  • exquisite 1561– Sought out, ‘recherché’. Of meat, drink, etc.: Carefully chosen; choice, dainty, delicious (passing into sense A.5).
  • spicy 1562– Having the characteristic qualities of spice; of the nature of spice.
  • well-relished ?1575–1826 Having a pleasant taste; very appetizing. Also figurative .
  • finger-licking 1584– (a) n. The action or an act of licking the fingers, esp. to remove remnants of food after eating; (b) adv. so as to cause a person to lick his or…
  • toothsome 1584– Pleasant to the taste, savoury, palatable: cf. tooth , n. I.2a.
  • taste-pleasing a1586–
  • relishsome 1593– Relishable; tasty, appetizing.
  • lickerish 1595–1728 Pleasant to the palate; gen. sweet, tempting, attractive; = lickerous , adj. 1. Of a cook: Skilful in preparing dainties. Obsolete .
  • tastesome 1598 Pleasant to the taste; ‘tasty’, toothsome.
  • friand 1599–1818 Dainty; delicious to the palate; fond of delicate food.
  • tooth-tempting 1603–
  • relishing 1605– Appetizing, relishable; enjoyable.
  • well-relishing 1608–1838 Having a pleasant taste; = well-relished , adj. Also figurative .
  • neat 1609–1857 Of preparations, esp. in cookery: skilfully or tastefully prepared; choice; elegant. Obsolete .
  • hungry 1611– Causing or inducing hunger; appetizing. rare .
  • palate-pleasing 1611–
  • tasteful 1611– Having an agreeable taste; palatable, toothsome, tasty. Now rare .
  • palate a1617 Pleasant to the palate or taste; palatable. Obsolete . rare .
  • tasty a1617– Pleasing to the taste; appetizing, savoury.
  • palatable 1619– Of food, drink, medicine, etc.: agreeable or acceptable to the palate; pleasant to the taste.
  • toothful 1622 Pleasant to the taste: = toothsome , adj. Obsolete .
  • sipid 1623– Savoury; = sapid , adj. 1.
  • unsoured 1626– ( un- , prefix¹ affix 2. Cf. North Frisian unsürred , Middle Swedish osyrdh (Swedish osyrad ), older Danish usuret (Danish usyret ); Dutch ongezuurd …
  • famelic 1631–51 Pertaining to hunger; in quots.: Exciting hunger, appetizing.
  • tasteable a1641–1791 Pleasant to the taste; savoury, ‘tasty’. Obsolete .
  • piquant 1645– Of food, etc.: having a (usually pleasantly) pungent or sharp taste; sharp; tangy; appetizing.
  • sapid 1646– Of food, etc.: Readily perceptible by the organs of taste, having a decided taste or flavour; esp. having a pleasant taste, savoury, palatable.
  • saporous a1670– Of or pertaining to taste; having flavour or taste; yielding some kind of taste. †Also, agreeable to the taste, savoury.
  • slape 1671– Of ale: (see quots.).
  • palative a1682– Appealing to the palate or taste. Also: of or relating to the palate.
  • flavorous 1697– Full of flavour; pleasing to the taste and smell, savoury; ‘fragrant, odorous’ (Johnson).
  • nice 1709– Of food or drink: dainty, choice; (later in weakened sense) tasty, appetizing; refreshing, restorative.
  • well-flavoured 1717– Having a good natural flavour; flavourful.
  • gusty 1721– Tasty, savoury, appetizing.
  • flavoury 1727– = flavoursome , adj.
  • fine-palated 1735– †(a) Having a pleasant taste, palatable ( obsolete rare ); (b) having a sophisticated palate ( palate , n. A.2a); appreciative of fine food and drink.
  • unrepulsive 1787– Not repulsive.
  • degustatory 1824– Pertaining to degustation; tasty.
  • zesty 1826– Of a taste, smell, or food: piquant, tangy, agreeably sharp; flavoursome.
  • peckish 1845 Appetizing. Obsolete . rare .
  • mouth-watering 1847– That causes a flow of saliva into the mouth, appetizing; ( figurative ) desirable, highly attractive.
  • flavoursome 1853– Full of flavour.
  • unreasty 1853 Not rancid.
  • unrancid a1855– Not rancid. Also figurative .
  • relishy 1864– Appetizing, relishable.
  • toothy 1864– Toothsome, palatable. rare .
  • flavoured 1867– Having flavour; chiefly, having a specified flavour, indicated by some defining word as ill-flavoured , orange-flavoured , vanilla-flavoured , etc.
  • tasty-looking 1867–
  • hungrifying 1886– Appetizing.
  • velvety 1888– Smooth and soft to the taste.
  • snappy 1892– colloquial . Having a brisk smack or flavour.
  • zippy 1911– Designating a zesty, tangy, or piquant flavour; (of food or drink) having such flavour.
  • savoursome 1922– Having a pleasant or savoury taste or smell; (also) able to be savoured.
  • delish 1953– Extremely pleasing to the senses; (chiefly) very tasty or appetizing. Sometimes of a person: very attractive. Cf. delicious , adj. A.1.
  • estlich c1200–25 Dainty, luxurious.
  • tid 1727– Choice, dainty, nice. Usually in collocation with bit (often in the superlative, as in tiddest bit ‘choicest or daintiest bit’). Cf. titbit , n. Now…
He speaks like a Lady for all the World, and never swears as Mr. Flash does, but wears nice white Gloves, and tells me what Ribbons become my Complexion.
I intend to dine with Mrs. Borgrave, and in the evening to take a nice walk.
A nice pocket edition.
‘I am sure,’ cried Catherine, ‘I did not mean to say any thing wrong; but it is a nice book, and why should not I 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 every thing.’
Lilies of the valley, and I know not what nice things.
How nice it must be to be able to get about in cars, omnibuses and railway trains again!
We have at last got a rather nice house here.
The trip was really quite nice . Only Connie kept saying to herself: Why don't I really care! Why am I never really thrilled?
He was impeccably dressed in a suit and a very nice tie.
It's a mercy she's nice eyes. Her eyes are nice.
  • here Old English–1420 Gentle, mild, pleasant.
  • i-queme Old English–1230 Pleasing, acceptable, agreeable.
  • liefly Old English–1460 Lovable, lovely, delightful, beautiful, pleasant, dear, glad. Applied both to persons and things.
  • merry Old English–1710 Of music, speech, etc.: pleasing to the ear, pleasant to hear. Of a musical instrument: producing a sweet sound; (of a bird) having a pleasant…
  • sweet Old English– Pleasing to the ear; having or giving a pleasant sound; musical, melodious, harmonious: said of a sound, a voice, an instrument, a singer or…
  • thankful Old English–1611 Worthy or deserving of thanks, gratitude, or credit; pleasing, acceptable, grateful, agreeable.
  • winly Old English–1400 Pleasant, agreeable; goodly, splendid, beautiful. (Often merely a vague epithet of commendation.)
  • winsome Old English–1400 Pleasant, delightful, agreeable. Obsolete .
  • queem c1175–1500 Pleasing, agreeable, acceptable (frequently to (also till ) a person). Obsolete .
  • bein a1200–1553 Pleasant, genial, kindly; ‘nice.’ (Latin amœnus , almus , benignus .) Obsolete .
  • wille a1200–75 Pleasing, pleasant, acceptable, agreeable.
  • leesome c1200– Lovable; pleasing; pleasant.
  • savoury c1225– Pleasant, pleasing, agreeable. Now rare except as implied in sense A.1d.
  • este a1250–1400 Of things: Agreeable, pleasant, savoury.
  • i-wil c1275 Pleasant, agreeable.
  • win c1275–1540 Delightful, pleasant; goodly, fine; good.
  • welcome a1300– Of a thing: Acceptable, agreeable, pleasing. †to be evil welcome : to be badly received.
  • douce a1350– Of a person or thing: sweet, pleasing, gentle.
  • well-pleasing c1350– Giving great pleasure or satisfaction (esp. to God); highly pleasing.
  • acceptable a1382– Capable or worthy of acceptance; pleasing, agreeable, welcome.
  • pleasable a1382– Capable of pleasing; acceptable, pleasant, agreeable.
  • pleasant a1382– That gives pleasure, delight, or satisfaction. Now chiefly in weakened sense: agreeable, nice; quite enjoyable.
  • pleased a1382 Pleasing, agreeable. Obsolete .
  • accepted c1384–1780 Satisfactory, acceptable, agreeable, esp. to a person. Obsolete .
  • amiable c1384–1925 Worthy of being loved, lovable; lovely. Of a thing. Obsolete .
  • well-liking a1387–1895 That gives pleasure; pleasant, agreeable. Obsolete ( archaic in later use).
  • queemful c1390–1480 Pleasing, agreeable. Also: kind, gracious.
  • flattering 1393– Suggesting pleasurable (usually, delusive) anticipations or beliefs; pleasing to the imagination.
  • pleasing a1398– That pleases; that gives pleasure or satisfaction; agreeable, pleasant. Also in pleasing-looking . Also as n. : (with the ) that which is pleasing.
  • well-queeming a1400 Pleasant, pleasing.
  • comely c1400–1910 Pleasing; gratifying; agreeable to the senses or feelings. Obsolete .
  • farrand c1400– Of things: Becoming, dignified, pleasant.
  • greable 1401–1645 = agreeable , adj. & adv. & n. , in various senses; fitting, accordant, compliant, pleasing, etc.
  • goodly c1405– Of speech, words, etc.: pleasing, delightful. Now rare .
  • amicable ?a1425–1917 Of a substance or thing: agreeable; favourable; benign. Obsolete .
  • placable c1429–1542 Pleasing, agreeable. Obsolete .
  • amene 1433–1909 Pleasant, agreeable. In early use esp. of weather or landscape.
  • winful 1438–1844 Pleasant.
  • listy c1440–1570 ? Pleasant, delightful. Also, pleased or willing to do something; hence, ready, quick. (Cf. list , adj. )
  • dulcet 1445– Pleasing or agreeable to the eye, ear, or feelings; soothing, gentle; mellifluous. Later chiefly of sounds, esp. in dulcet tones .
  • agreeable c1450– Without construction. That pleases a person; enjoyable, likeable, pleasant. (Now the most common sense.)
  • favourous c1485–1775 (a) Full of favour, obliging. (b) Adapted to win favour, pleasing.
  • sweetly ?a1500 Sweet.
  • pleasureful ?c1502– Full of pleasure; pleasing, delightful.
  • dulce a1513– Pleasing to the eye, ear, or feelings; gentle, soft; delightful.
  • grate 1523–1665 Pleasing, agreeable, acceptable.
  • pretty a1529– Used as a general term of admiration or appreciation. Of a thing or action: fine, pleasing, commendable, etc.; proper, appropriate, or polite. Now…
  • plausible 1541–1828 Acceptable, agreeable, pleasing, gratifying; winning public approval, popular. Obsolete .
  • jolly 1549– Exceedingly pleasant, agreeable, or ‘nice’; delightful. Now colloquial .
  • dulcorate c1550–1657 Endowed with sweetness; sweet.
  • toothsome 1551– figurative or in figurative context: Pleasant, ‘palatable’.
  • pleasurable 1557– That gives, or is capable of giving, pleasure; agreeable, pleasant.
  • tickling 1558– That tickles, in various senses of the verb; exciting pleasantly, gratifying, alluring; amusing, diverting; delicate, tingling, itching; ticklish.
  • suave c1560– Pleasing or agreeable to the senses or the mind; sweet.
  • amenous 1567– Pleasant, agreeable.
  • odoriferous ?1575– figurative . In early use: pleasing; agreeable; good. Now (usually): unpleasant, disgusting.
  • perfumed 1580– figurative . Sweet, pleasant; cloying; made to seem sweet, disguised.
  • glad a1586 Welcome, acceptable. Obsolete . rare .
  • tickle 1593 Having the quality of tickling, tickly. Obsolete .
  • pleasurous 1595– Characterized by (esp. sensual) pleasure; joyous.
  • favoursome 1601 That is an object of favour; acceptable.
  • dulcean 1606–1824 Sweet, pleasing.
  • gratifying 1611– That gratifies; affording pleasure, pleasing, satisfying.
  • Hyblaean 1614– Of or pertaining to the town of Hybla in Sicily, celebrated for the honey produced on the neighbouring hills; hence poetic , honied, sweet…
  • gratulate a1616 To be rejoiced at; pleasing, gratifying.
  • arrident 1616–42 Pleasant, gratifying, flattering.
  • solaceful a1618– Full of solace; pleasant, agreeable.
  • pleasantable 1619 = pleasurable , adj.
  • placid 1628 Pleasing, agreeable, welcome. Obsolete . rare .
  • contentsome 1632–44 Full of or yielding content, satisfaction, or delight.
  • sapid 1640– figurative . Grateful to the mind or mental taste.
  • canny 1643– Chiefly English regional ( north-eastern ). Pleasant, nice, agreeable; neat, attractive, comely; good, worthy, satisfactory. Often a general epithet…
  • gustful 1647– figurative . Pleasant to the mind or feelings.
  • peramene 1657 Very pleasant.
  • pergrateful 1657 Very agreeable.
  • tasteful a1659–1701 figurative . Mentally pleasant or agreeable. Obsolete .
  • complacent 1660–1772 Pleasing, pleasant, delightful. Obsolete . rare .
  • placentious a1661–83 Pleasing, or disposed to please; complaisant, agreeable.
  • gratifactory a1665 Gratifying.
  • bland 1667– Of things: Soft, mild, pleasing to the senses; gentle, genial, balmy, soothing.
  • suavious 1669 Pleasing, agreeable.
  • palatable 1683– figurative . Pleasing or agreeable to the mind or feelings; (of an action, prospect, etc.) acceptable, satisfactory.
  • placent 1683–1759 Pleasing, gratifying.
  • complaisant 1710 Of things: Pleasant, agreeable. Obsolete . rare .
  • nice 1747– That one derives pleasure or satisfaction from; agreeable, pleasant, satisfactory; attractive.
  • tasty 1796– figurative . Pleasant, agreeable, attractive.
  • sweetsome 1799– Sweet, pleasant. Also adv.
  • titbit 1820– figurative and in figurative contexts. A person or thing likened to a delicacy or morsel.
  • connate 1836– Akin or agreeing in nature; cognate, allied, related, congenerous; congenial.
  • kapai 1840– Good, fine; excellent; very pleasant.
  • cunning 1843– U.S. colloquial . Quaintly interesting or pretty, attractive, taking; as having attributed to it the qualities described in sense 2b, or (as said of…
  • mooi 1850– Pretty; good; nice.
  • gemütlich 1852– Pleasant, cheerful; cosy, snug, homely; genial, goodnatured.
  • sympathique 1859– Of a thing, place, etc.: agreeable, to one's taste, suitable. Of a person: likeable, en rapport with one, congenial. Cf. sympathetic , adj. A.2b.
  • congenial 1878– Suited or agreeable to one's temperament or disposition; to one's taste or liking. Const. to .
  • sympathetic 1900– Tending to elicit sympathy (senses A.3b A.1d) or to induce a feeling of rapport; also loosely , pleasant, likeable. Cf. sympathique , adj.
  • sipid 1908– figurative . = sapid , adj. 3.
  • onkus 1910– New Zealand . Good; pleasant.
  • sympathisch 1911– = sympathique , adj.
Just read this little letter, do, Miss, do—it won't take you much time, you reads so nice and fast. a very healthful play in winter; it will make you nice and warm in frosty weather.
You'll be nice and ill in the morning.
S'posin' he et a lot of the little green apples..and got nice and sick?
Spread it on the butty nice and thick.
I had banked up the fire in the morning, getting it nice and hot.
  • bitter Old English– figurative . Unpalatable; unpleasant; hard to accept or admit. Cf. bitter pill , n.
  • evil Old English– Causing discomfort, pain, or trouble; unpleasant, offensive, disagreeable; troublesome, painful.
  • grimly Old English– Grim-looking; grim in appearance or nature.
  • loath Old English–1592 Repulsive, unpleasant, hateful, loathsome.
  • un-i-queme Old English–1300 Displeasing, disagreeable, unacceptable.
  • unqueme Old English–1225 Displeasing, disagreeable, unacceptable. Cf. queem , adj. A.2.
  • unsweet Old English– Unpleasant, disagreeable, distasteful.
  • sour c1175– Extremely distasteful or disagreeable; bitter, unpleasant.
  • ill c1220– Causing pain, discomfort, or inconvenience: offensive, painful, disagreeable, objectionable.
  • unhightly c1275 Unjoyful or unfitting.
  • unwelcome c1325– Not welcome or acceptable; unpleasing.
  • unblithe c1330–1400 Of things: Unpleasant, disagreeable.
  • unnet c1330 Undesirable, bad.
  • unreken a1350–1440 Rough, difficult, unpleasant.
  • unagreeable c1374– Not agreeable or pleasing; not to one's liking or taste; disagreeable, uncongenial. Also const. to , unto .
  • uncouth c1380–1797 Of a strange and unpleasant or distasteful character. Obsolete .
  • unsavoury c1380– Unpleasant, disagreeable, distasteful.
  • displeasant c1386–1661 Const. to , unto .
  • unliking a1398–1689 Unpleasant, disagreeable.
  • mispaying a1400–1500 Displeasing, unpleasant.
  • ungain a1400– Unpleasant, disagreeable.
  • crabbed c1400–1622 Of things: Harsh or unpleasant to the taste or feelings; unpalatable, bitter. Obsolete or archaic . (Cf. sense 9.)
  • unlovely c1400– That does not inspire love or affection; undesirable, unpleasant; (in early use often more strongly) hateful.
  • displeasing 1401– Causing displeasure, giving offence, disagreeable.
  • eschew c1420 ? Objectionable, to be avoided.
  • unsoot 1420–1579 = unsweet , adj.
  • misliking a1425–1616 Unpleasant, displeasing. Obsolete .
  • unlikely a1425– Displeasing; disagreeable; objectionable, distasteful. Also: unattractive, unsightly (cf. likely , adj. A.III.7). Now rare ( English regional ( Lincoln …
  • unlusty a1425–1532 Unpleasant, disagreeable; undesirable. Obsolete .
  • fastidious c1425–1744 That causes distaste, aversion, or disgust in a person; distasteful, disgusting; (in somewhat weakened use) unpleasant, disagreeable, wearisome. Obs …
  • unpleasant c1430– Causing discomfort, unhappiness, or revulsion; (originally) spec. displeasing to God. Now chiefly in weakened sense: disagreeable, not nice.
  • displicable 1471 Displeasing.
  • unthankful c1475– Not earning thanks or gratitude; unacceptable, unappreciated, thankless; disagreeable.
  • displeasant 1481–1668 That displeases or causes displeasure or annoyance; displeasing; unpleasant; disagreeable.
  • uneasy 1483–1798 Causing mental discomfort for disquietude; unpleasant, disagreeable. Obsolete .
  • unpleasing a1500– Not pleasing; displeasing, unpleasant.
  • unfaring 1513– Unattractive, unpleasant. Obsolete .
  • bad c1530– Causing displeasure, pain, or inconvenience; unpleasant, offensive, disagreeable; troublesome, vexing, trying, difficult.
  • malpleasant ?1533–94 Unpleasant, disagreeable.
  • noisome 1542– Disagreeable, unpleasant, offensive.
  • thankless a1547– Of a task, or the like: Which brings no thanks; receiving or deserving no thanks.
  • ungrate 1548–1656 Unpleasant, disagreeable; = ingrate , adj. A.1.
  • untoothsome 1548– figurative . Unpalatable, disagreeable.
  • ungreeable 1550– Disagreeable.
  • missetting ?1553 Displeasing, offensive.
  • contrary 1561 Distasteful. Obsolete . rare .
  • disagreeable 1570– Not to a person's taste or liking; unenjoyable, unpleasant. Also (esp. in earlier use): disgusting, offensive.
  • offensible 1575–1611 Of the nature of an offence, fault, or crime; hurtful, harmful, injurious; offensive.
  • offensive 1576– Giving, or liable to give, offence; displeasing; annoying; insulting.
  • naughty 1578–1600 Of a smell or flavour: unpleasant, disagreeable. Obsolete . rare .
  • delightless a1586– Giving or providing no delight; cheerless, dreary.
  • undelightful 1585– ( un- , prefix¹ affix 1)
  • unwished a1586– Unwanted, unwelcome, unpleasing.
  • unpleasurable 1587– Not pleasurable; unpleasant, disagreeable.
  • undelightsome c1595– ( un- , prefix¹ affix 1.)
  • dislikeful 1596 Unpleasant, distasteful.
  • disliking 1596–1636 Displeasing, disagreeable, distasteful. Obsolete .
  • ungrateful 1596– Unpleasant, disagreeable, distasteful.
  • unsweet ?a1600– Of a person. rare .
  • distastive 1600–42 Disgusting, unpleasant, offensive.
  • impleasing 1602–14 Unpleasing, unpleasant.
  • distasting 1603– Causing distaste; displeasing, offensive.
  • distasteful 1607– Causing dislike; disagreeable, unpleasant, offensive.
  • unsightly 1608– Applied to immaterial things.
  • undelectable 1610– ( un- , prefix¹ affix 1b.)
  • disgustful 1611– Distasteful, displeasing; causing dislike, dissatisfaction, or displeasure; offensive. archaic .
  • unrelishing 1611– Lacking in flavour or savour; unappetizing, unpalatable.
  • waspish a1616– Pertaining to or resembling a wasp or some characteristic of it.
  • undelicious a1618– †(a) Not dainty or delicate. Obsolete . (b) Not pleasant or agreeable.
  • unwished-for 1617– unwished-for , = 1b.
  • disrelishing 1631– Distasteful.
  • unenjoyed 1643– ( un- , prefix¹ affix 2.)
  • unjoyous 1645– Not joyous; joyless; without joy.
  • miry a1652–1774 In figurative context. Obsolete .
  • unwelcomed 1651 ( un- , prefix¹ affix 2.)
  • shocking 1653– That disturbs or upsets a person by delivering a sudden unexpected jolt of emotion; that causes indignation, horror, or disgust; causing a feeling…
  • unpleasive a1656 Unpleasant.
  • sweet 1656– Pleasing (in general); yielding pleasure or enjoyment; agreeable, delightful, charming. (Only… ironically : cf. fine , adj. A.II.7c.
  • injucund 1657–1721 Unpleasant, disagreeable.
  • insuave 1657 Not suave or sweet; unpleasant.
  • unpalatable 1658– Not pleasing or agreeable to the mind or feelings; unpleasant, distasteful; unacceptable.
  • unhandsome 1660 Unpleasant, nasty. Obsolete .
  • undesirable 1667– Not to be desired; objectionable.
  • disrelishable a1670 Such as to be disrelished or disliked; distasteful.
  • uncouthsome 1684– Unfavourable, unpleasant.
  • nasty 1705 Of a thing: unpleasant, disagreeable; objectionable, annoying. In recent use frequently in heightened sense: offensive; repellent.
  • embittering 1748– That embitters or tends to embitter.
  • indelectable 1751– Unpleasant, disagreeable.
  • undelighting a1774– Affording no delight or pleasure.
  • nice and —— 1796– Used as an intensifier with a predicative adjective or adverb in nice and —— , sometimes ironically .
  • unenjoyable a1797– ( un- , prefix¹ affix 1b.)
  • ungenial 1796– Not agreeable or pleasant ( to one).
  • uncomplacent 1805– ( un- , prefix¹ affix 1.)
  • ungracious 1807– Unpleasant and unappreciated.
  • rotten 1813– colloquial . Very bad or unpleasant; nasty, terrible, awful; (also of a person) unwell. Also as an intensifier.
  • uncongenial 1813– Not congenial or kindred; unsympathetic.
  • quarrelsome 1825 Offensive, disagreeable, inimical. Obsolete .
  • grimy 1833– figurative . Unpleasant, mean. (Cf. quot. 1848 at sense a.)
  • nice 1836– Used ironically .
  • unrelished 1863– Not relished; not enjoyed, appreciated, or savoured.
  • bloody 1867– colloquial . British . Chiefly in predicative use. Bad, unpleasant, objectionable, deplorable; perverse, unreasonable, difficult. Cf. bloody-minded …
  • unbewitching 1876– Not bewitching or beguiling; uncharming, unlovely.
  • ferocious 1877– As an intensive: very great, extreme; esp. very unpleasant. colloquial (originally U.S. ).
  • displeasurable 1879– The reverse of pleasurable; unpleasant, disagreeable.
  • rebarbative 1892– Repellent; unattractive; objectionable.
  • charming 1893– Used ironically.
  • crook 1898– Australian and New Zealand . Of things: bad, inferior; out of order, unsatisfactory; unpleasant, dreadful.
  • naar 1900– Unpleasant, disagreeable.
  • peppery 1901– figurative . In extended use: strong, powerful; lively, spirited; (in negative contexts) unpleasant, objectionable.
  • negative 1902– Of an emotion, emotional reaction, etc.: unhappy, unpleasant. Of an experience: discouraging, demoralizing, uncomfortable.
  • poisonous 1906– colloquial . Unpleasant, nasty.
  • off-putting 1935– That puts one off; unpleasant, disconcerting, repellent.
  • unsympathetic 1937– ( un- , prefix¹ affix 1; cf. sympathetic , adj. A.2b.)
  • piggy 1942– Piglike; resembling or suggestive of a pig; ( figurative ) unpleasant; stubborn, greedy, unattractive, dirty.
  • funky 1946– U.S. slang . Unpleasant, objectionable; (also) suspect, questionable, strange.
  • umpty 1948– figurative . Of a person, place, or circumstance: unpleasant.
  • pooey 1967– Chiefly British and Australian . Of, containing, or resembling excrement; disgusting, distasteful; smelly.
  • minging 1970– That smells bad, stinking; (more generally) unpleasant, foul. Also: very drunk.
  • Scrooge-like 1976–
  • sucky 1984– Disagreeable or contemptible; obnoxious or unpleasant. Cf. suck , v. III.15f. slang (originally and chiefly U.S. ).
  • stank 1991– Of a person, or his or her appearance, behaviour, etc.: unpleasant, disgusting, offensive. Also (chiefly of a woman): sexually promiscuous. Cf. stanky …
  • stanky 1991– figurative . Of a person, or his or her appearance, behaviour, etc.: disgusting, offensive, unpleasant; worthless or contemptible. Also (chiefly of…
‘Marry Miss Hanbury!’ said I, with astonishment... ‘Why not?’ cried his lordship; ‘she's a nice girl.’
The Commandant, whom I subsequently found to be a very nice fellow.
‘Is your master at home, my dear,’ said Scrooge to the girl. Nice girl! Very.
‘Who is he—one o' them rah-rah boys with a big bunch o' hair?’.. ‘He's an awfully nice fellow,’ responded young Mr. Hall, stiffly.
The directress is a very nice french woman.
Do you know something, Mary? Mr Harris is the nicest man I know, except for my father.
Marcie : Do you think she's nice ? Vince : Yes I do. Marcie : That's brilliant cos she fancies you.
We are to have Company to dinner on friday; the three Digweeds & James.—We shall be a nice silent party I suppose.
I have been clearing off all the rejected articles to-day, and nice work I have had.
A nice job I've had to nibble him.
Aren't you going to stop and see Clem off?.. You are a nice one.
This is a nice way for you to behave, Anne! Aren't you ashamed of yourself?
I'd have been taken for a nice little car ride and found in the local ash-can.
If I found that you didn't want me, I'd be in a nice fix.
  • poor c1300– attributive . That provokes sympathy, or compassion; that is to be pitied; unfortunate, wretched, hapless.
  • vile 1526– Of clothes, etc.: Mean, wretched.
  • mangy a1529– In extended use: squalid, poverty-stricken, shabby; sparse, threadbare.
  • fine 1565– Often used ironically. Cf. you're (also he's, she's, etc.) a fine one to talk at phrases P.8 all very fine at all , adj. & pron. & n. &…
  • palterly a1637– Paltry; mean, shabby.
  • scrubby 1754– Insignificant, shabby, paltry, of poor appearance.
  • nice 1798– Used ironically .
  • shabby 1805– transferred . Discreditably inferior in quality, making a poor appearance.
  • waff-like 1808– Shabby-looking; having a suspicious or disreputable appearance; feeble, of little account.
  • neat 1824–29 slang . In ironic use: ‘fine’, ‘prize’. Obsolete .
  • chronic 1861– transferred . Continuous, constant. Used colloquially as a vague expression of disapproval: bad, intense, severe, objectionable; also something chronic …
  • tacky 1862– Dowdy, shabby; in poor taste, cheap, vulgar. Also in combinations, as tacky-looking adj. colloquial (originally and chiefly U.S. ).
  • slum 1900– That is attractive but worthless or poor-quality; cheap, tacky.
  • shambly a1937– That shambles, shambling; awkward, ungainly; disorganized, ramshackle, rickety.
  • tatty 1940– Of clothes, decoration, etc.: shabby, tawdry, cheap.
  • low-rent 1966– Originally U.S. slang . Of inferior quality; cheap, ‘tacky’. Cf. downmarket , adj.
  • scrungy 1974– Dirty, grimy; sleazy, shabby, or tatty.
She has, in the nicest and most delicate way, procured them.
‘Not nice of Master Enoch,’ said Dick.
When I say Van was good, I mean he was nice to me.
I'm tired of being nice to every poor fish in school.
In Wollmann's opinion, altogether too much time had been wasted trying to be ‘ nice .’
The woman standing next to you is pregnant. It might be a nice gesture to offer her your seat.
  • sweet Old English– Having pleasant disposition and manners; amiable, kindly; gracious, benignant. Of persons, etc.
  • soot a1250–1561 Of persons, qualities, etc.: Pleasant, agreeable, gentle, mild, gracious.
  • couth a1375– Kind, affable, agreeable, pleasant: said of persons and their actions; = couthie , adj. 1. Scottish .
  • pleasant c1387– Of a person: having pleasing manners, demeanour, or appearance; amiable, cheerful, good-humoured.
  • gallant ?a1513–1645 Suited to fashionable society; indulging in social gaiety or display; attractive in manners, polished, courtier-like. Obsolete .
  • plausible 1577–1880 Of a person, a person's manners, etc.: affable, pleasant, winning, ingratiating. Obsolete .
  • plausive 1595– Expressive of approval or praise; having the quality of applause; applauding.
  • winsome 1677– Pleasing or attractive in appearance, handsome, comely; of attractive nature or disposition, of winning character or manners.
  • genial 1746– Esp. of a person: sympathetically cheerful; kindly; jovial; affable.
  • clever 1758– With the modern colloquial sense of ‘nice’, i.e. pleasing from convenience or agreeableness. Of persons: Good-natured, well-disposed; amiable. U.S. …
  • nice 1830– Kind or considerate in behaviour; friendly (towards others). Frequently in to be nice (to) .
  • decent 1902– Of a person: kind, accommodating, pleasant. colloquial .
Haven't I made a reg'lar nice job of it? This is Carlo, sure as preachin'!
The New Woman..will do the proposing herself. And a nice job she will make of it, too!
‘ Nice work,’ Satan interjected from time to time, with smooth irony. ‘Sure. Go ahead. Like to hear your plans.’
Ruth said, ‘ Nice going, kid,’ and that simple compliment pleased the young Cincinnati pitcher more than all of the other praises he received.
She's made a nice job of my hair, hasn't she? I wouldn't want Ethel to think I'd let myself go.
The employment department has set up a project to provide 61,000 training places. Nice try—except that there are currently 1.3m long-term unemployed.
‘Action's on tonight down the “Cage”.’ ‘ Nice one .’
Nice one , nice one, that's what they say.
Nice one Cyril.
How about calling yourselves ‘The Goodies’— Nice one eh?
Nice one Handsworth doing fine.
‘They're on the top table with Her Royal Highness. We're on Table No 5 with no one we know.’ ‘ Nice one ,’ I said darkly.
After acknowledging encores as a ludicrous act, Pitchshifter simply stayed on the stage, played three more songs, and then left. Nice one lads.
  • suffrage 1566–1824 An expression or token of approval, endorsement, or appreciation; applause, praise. Obsolete .
  • vote 1608– figurative . A declaration of approval or support. Now chiefly in singular . Cf. sense I.5a.
  • seal of approval 1833– A sanction or endorsement, sometimes formally awarded but usually without this implication; an indication of satisfaction or acceptance.
  • accolade 1852– figurative . A mark of approval or admiration; a bestowal of praise, a plaudit; an acknowledgement of distinction or merit, an award or privilege…
  • back-pat 1894– A pat on the back (either literal or figurative), given as a gesture or expression of approval or congratulation.
  • nod 1924– With the . Approval to go ahead with a course of action or to take on a function. Chiefly in to get the nod , to give the nod .
  • nice one 1970– colloquial . nice one : expressing approval or congratulations for something done well. In later use also ironically .
  • like 2009– In the context of social media: an expression of approval or support made by clicking on a particular icon.
Lytyl wurþ þey are and nyce prowde; Fyȝte þey cunne wiþ wurdes lowde.
The foule crepith in as nyce Into the mouth of þe cokadryce And þe wormes eteth ychone.
  • unwisely Old English– In an unwise, injudicious, or foolish manner; imprudently, foolishly.
  • dizzily c1175– In a dizzy or giddy manner.
  • folly ?c1225–1568 Foolishly, unwisely.
  • cangliche c1230 Foolishly.
  • mazedly a1250– Foolishly; in a confused manner.
  • follily c1330–1600 Foolishly, unwisely.
  • unskilfully 1340–1616 Without discernment; foolishly; ignorantly.
  • unwittily 1362–1560 In an ignorant, unwise, or foolish manner; unwisely. Obsolete .
  • lewdly a1387–1500 In an ignorant or unlearned fashion; foolishly, unreasonably. Obsolete .
  • nicely a1387–1523 Foolishly, unwisely; (also) wickedly. Obsolete .
  • fondly a1450–1790 Foolishly. English regional ( northern ) in later use. Obsolete .
  • nice a1450–75 Foolishly. Obsolete .
  • foolishly c1450– In a foolish manner; without good sense or judgement.
  • foliously 1481
  • ineptly 1523– In an inept manner; unfitly, unsuitably; foolishly.
  • peevishly ?1529– In a peevish manner; with irritable discontent or petty bad temper. Formerly also: †perversely, capriciously, spitefully, foolishly ( obsolete ).
  • simply 1535–1908 In a foolish, silly, or stupid manner; without common sense; ignorantly. Obsolete .
  • insipiently 1536–50 Unwisely, foolishly.
  • senselessly 1561– In a stupid or foolish manner; in an irrational, unintelligible, or meaningless manner. Formerly also: †in a senseless or unresponsive condition ( obs …
  • fonly 1579 Foolishly.
  • sillily c1598– In a foolish, absurd, or senseless manner; so as to attract ridicule; ludicrously, ridiculously.
  • perperously 1657 Foolishly, carelessly, wrongly.
  • insipidly 1699– In an insipid manner; tastelessly; dully; †senselessly, foolishly.
  • daftly 1724– †(a) Mildly, meekly ( obsolete ); (b) foolishly.
  • silly 1731– = sillily , adv. 2. regional and colloquial in later use.
  • stupid ?1757– In a manner that indicates a lack of intelligence or common sense; stupidly, foolishly. In later use colloquial .
  • dawkinly 1763– Foolishly.
  • fool-like 1800– Like a fool; in the manner of a fool. Now rare .
  • unsagely 1801– ( un- , prefix¹ affix 5.)
  • spoonily 1861– In a foolish or silly manner.
  • assishly 1863– In an asinine manner; foolishly, stupidly.
  • ill-advisedly 1879– In an ill-advised manner, injudiciously, imprudently.
But prycke them and pynne them as nyche , as ye wyll.
Curst be they all: from thy good lore: who wander wyll to nyse .
Take a fine piece of sturgeon, wash and clean it very nice .
‘I'll wear me hair pompadour.’..‘Well, get it up nice ’.
You get dressed up nice this afternoon.
He sings really nice and he's picked up the guitar ever so quick.
  • untowely a1230–40 Wantonly.
  • jollily c1400 Amorously; licentiously. Obsolete .
  • wantonly c1405– With lustful intent, lasciviously; flirtatiously; voluptuously. In early use (also): luxuriously; lavishly.
  • small ?c1450 Slyly; wantonly. Obsolete .
  • nice ?1544– Satisfactorily, thoroughly; prettily, pleasingly. Now nonstandard .
  • loosely 1548– Without moral strictness; immorally.
  • licentiously 1561– Lasciviously, lewdly.
  • liberally 1596 In a lax or dissolute manner. Obsolete . rare .
  • naughtily 1609– Promiscuously, licentiously; in a sexually suggestive or provocative manner.
  • choicely a1375– In a choice manner: with careful choice, with special care, carefully, specially, discriminatingly; daintily, exquisitely, excellently.
  • particularly 1489– In relation to particulars or details; with respect to the individual parts of a whole; minutely, in detail.
  • nicely 1651– With particular care.
  • finely 1718 In or into minute particles or small pieces; to a fine point or edge; so as to be delicate in structure or texture.
Þou ne art nycier þan a nunne nyne-folde tyme.
Some be nyse as a nonne hene.
I knewe a Priest that was as nice as a Nonnes Henne.
She tooke thenterteinment of the yong men All in daliaunce, as nice as a nuns hen.
More nice then wise.
Suppose..the other more nice than wise should reply, Nay, it may possibly be otherwise.
A sort of People of the Reformed Religion, whose pretences were more Nice , than Wise.
Some travell'd Fop, more nice than wise, Shall wholesome Luxury despise.
Some people are more nice than wise.
It ought only to be applied to you, without any commendation at all. You are more nice than wise.
I think you're a great heap more nice than wise. You aint too good lookin', nuther.
There is, we know, such a thing as being ‘too nice ’—‘more nice than wise.’ It is quite possible to be fastidious.
I make it coye, or nyce as a daungerouse person doth, je fais lestrange .
Raab, and Ruth..War licht Ladeis, thocht ȝe it mak sa nice.
Althogh they seeme to make nyce in praying for dead.
And he that stands vpon a slipp'ry place, Makes nice of no vilde hold to stay him vp.
Christ..cometh in..without ceremonies, or making it nice, to make a poor ransomed one His own.
They make not nice to tell him, That there is no possibility of Salvation, but in their way.
  • nill Old English–1642 With bare infinitive. In the present and past tenses. Also: (in the present) sometimes expressing simple futurity. Obsolete .
  • loathe a1200– To feel aversion or dislike for; to be reluctant or unwilling to (do something). Now only with stronger sense: To have an intense aversion for…
  • to make it tough 1297–1530 Phrase. to make it tough . To make it difficult; to make difficulties about doing something; to show reluctance. Obsolete .
  • forthink a1300–1599 reflexive . To change the direction of one's thoughts; to experience a change of mind or purpose; to repent, be sorry. Const. of , that , or to with…
  • reck c1300–1610 transitive . With infinitive as object. To be reluctant, unwilling, or concerned (to do something); to object to; to feel aversion or repugnance…
  • rue a1400– intransitive . To be sorry or distressed to do something; to feel reluctant to do something. Now archaic and rare .
  • to make (it) strange c1405–1616 to make (it) strange : to make difficulties, refuse to assent or comply, be reluctant or unwilling; to… to make it strange . Obsolete .
  • to make strangeness c1407–1513 to make strangeness : to show oneself unfriendly or uncomplying. Obsolete .
  • stick 1418–1845 intransitive . To be reluctant or unwilling ( to do something); to hesitate, to scruple. Chiefly in negative constructions (e.g. he did not stick to )…
  • resist c1425– intransitive . Esp. of a person: to offer resistance. Sometimes with against , † to .
  • to make (it) strange ?1456– to make (it) strange : to make difficulties, refuse to assent or comply, be reluctant or unwilling; to… to make strange . Also (esp. in earlier use)…
  • tarrow c1480– intransitive . To delay, hesitate, show reluctance. (Nearly = tarry , v. 3.)
  • doubt 1483–1743 To hesitate, scruple, delay: with infinitive .
  • sunyie 1488–1602 intransitive . Scottish . To hesitate, delay; to refuse. Also transitive ( reflexive ) in same sense.
  • to make (it) nice 1530–1677 to make (it) nice : to display reserve or reluctance; to entertain a scruple or doubt. Obsolete .
  • stay 1533–51 To scruple, be in doubt, raise difficulties ( at ). Obsolete .
  • shent c1540 intransitive . To hesitate.
  • to make it scrupulous 1548–1685 Of a thing: Causing or raising scruples; liable to give offence; meriting scruple or cavil, dubious, doubtful. to make it scrupulous : to scruple…
  • to think (it) much 1548–1881 With complement. transitive . to think (it) much : (a) To be reluctant or shy, hesitate to do something, to have an objection (also with of ); (b) to…
  • to make dainty of (anything) 1555–1649 Phrase. to make dainty of (anything) : to set great store by; hence, to be sparing or chary of; to make dainty to do (or to make dainty of doing ; also…
  • to lie aback 1560–96 To be backward, reluctant, or shy. Obsolete .
  • stand 1563–1800 With to and infinitive. intransitive . Originally and chiefly Scottish . To be hesitant, reluctant, or slow to do something; to refuse to do something…
  • steek 1573–79 intransitive . With infinitive as complement. To be reluctant or unwilling to do something; to hesitate, to scruple. Cf. stick , v.¹ III.19a. Obsolete .
  • to make courtesy 1575 To show hesitation or reluctance in doing something. Similarly to make no courtesy : to show no hesitation or reluctance in doing something. Obsolete .
  • to hang back 1581– intransitive . To resist advance by one's weight or inertia; figurative to show unwillingness to advance or come forward; to be backward.
  • erch 1584 To be unwilling, hesitate; = argh , v.
  • to make doubt 1586– Phrases. to make doubt : †(a) To hesitate, to scruple ( obsolete ); (b) to doubt, to be uncertain.
  • to hang the groin 1587– to hang the groin , to hang a leg , to hang an arse (coarse): to hesitate or hold back; to be reluctant or tardy; to hang back.
  • to make scruple (also a, no, etc., scruple) 1589– to make scruple (also a, no, etc., scruple) : to entertain or raise a scruple or doubt; to hesitate, be reluctant, esp. on conscientious grounds…
  • yearn 1597 intransitive . To be reluctant to do something. Obsolete . rare .
  • to hang the wing a1601–24 to hang the wing (cf. hang , v. I.4c): to hesitate, show timidity. Obsolete .
  • to make squeamish 1611–17 to make squeamish , to hesitate or shrink; to show dislike. Obsolete .
  • smay 1632– intransitive . To shrink, to flinch; to feel disinclined, etc.
  • boggle a1638– To raise scruples, hesitate, demur, stickle ( at , occasionally about , over , etc., or to do a thing).
  • to hang off 1641– To show hesitation in coming to close quarters or to an agreement; to hang back, demur.
  • waver 1643 To hesitate to (do something). Obsolete . rare .
  • reluct 1648– To struggle; to show dislike or opposition; to display reluctance. Now rare . intransitive . Without construction.
  • shy 1650– intransitive . To take a sudden fright or aversion; to make a difficulty, ‘boggle’ about doing something; to recoil, shrink. Const. at , from : rarely to …
  • reluctate 1655–1867 transitive . To feel reluctance to do something.
  • stickle 1656– intransitive . To make difficulties about something one objects to; to raise objections; to scruple; to quibble. Chiefly with at , about , specifying…
  • scruple 1660– Const . infinitive: To hesitate or be reluctant ( to do something), esp. on conscientious grounds, or out of regard for what is fit and proper. (The…
  • to make boggle 1667– Demur, scruple, objection, difficulty, fuss; chiefly in to make boggle . Obsolete or archaic .
  • revere 1689 transitive . To be reluctant ( to do something) through a feeling of respect. Obsolete . rare .
  • begrudge 1690– To grumble at, show dissatisfaction with; esp. to envy (one) the possession of; to give reluctantly, to be reluctant. intransitive . rare . Obsolete .
  • to have scruples 1719– to have scruples ; to have little, no scruple , etc. Const. about (a matter), in (doing something).
  • stop c1738 To stay in action, to hesitate, ‘stick’. Const. at . to stop at nothing , to be prevented by no obstacle.
  • bitch 1777–85 intransitive . To back down, to yield. Obsolete . rare .
  • reprobate 1779 transitive . To abhor to do a thing. Obsolete . rare .
  • crane 1823– Hunting . To pull up at a hedge or other obstacle and look over before leaping; hence figurative to ‘look before one leaps’, hesitate at or shrink…
  • disincline 1885– intransitive . To be indisposed or unwilling; to incline not ( to do something).
She was desirous of looking as nice as possible.
O, you look so nice ,..any body would take you for an experienced servant.
Cuthbert liked her to look nice .
Flos. [Sits down timidly and adjusts skirts; raises her eyes]: Why don't you tell me I look nice ?
A ‘pretty-pretty’ swing may look nice , but it doesn't get you very far.
Some magazines have a dislike for justified right margins. I think they look nice .
  • become c1300 Hence, To look well (on or with), to set out. absol. To look well (i.e. in its place); to be comely or becoming. Obsolete .
  • smile 1594– Of physical features, things, etc.: To have or present an agreeable or pleasing aspect.
  • to look nice 1793– to look nice : to have an attractive or pleasing appearance; to be smartly dressed.
The parson's daughters are as nice as my nail and as clean as a penny!
A capital bed, and all as nice as nice could be.
Sittin' beside her as nice as nice.
Roy Gleenslade (former Mirror ed) promises not to stich Mr Kinnock up, to be as nice as nice.
Holding hands at mid-night 'Neath a starry sky, Nice work if you can get it , And you can get it if you try.
The Frenchman..may well reply with impatience: ‘ Nice work if you can get it .’
She'll be entertaining on board; nice work if you can get it .
The Farm will no doubt continue doing what they do... Nice work if you can get it , but we really do deserve much better.
I'm gonna make nice there! I'm only gonna challenge him.
Oh, I know he was making nice -nice when he thought he could wheedle the right of way out of me.
His aides insisted that he has no intention of making nice -nice with Saddam and every intention of holding Iraq to the last letter of the multiple U.N. resolutions.
Microsoft, after making its fortune all these years on proprietary standards like Windows, suddenly wants to make nice , perhaps in the hope that the U.S. Department of Justice is watching.


Pronunciation keys.

  • ð th ee
  • ɬ rhingy ll

Some consonants can take the function of the vowel in unstressed syllables. Where necessary, a syllabic marker diacritic is used, hence <petal> /ˈpɛtl/ but <petally> /ˈpɛtl̩i/.

  • a trap, bath
  • ɑː start, palm, bath
  • ɔː thought, force
  • ᵻ (/ɪ/-/ə/)
  • ᵿ (/ʊ/-/ə/)

Other symbols

  • The symbol ˈ at the beginning of a syllable indicates that that syllable is pronounced with primary stress.
  • The symbol ˌ at the beginning of a syllable indicates that that syllable is pronounced with secondary stress.
  • Round brackets ( ) in a transcription indicate that the symbol within the brackets is optional.

View the pronunciation model here .

* /d/ also represents a 'tapped' /t/ as in <bitter>

Some consonants can take the function of the vowel in unstressed syllables. Where necessary, a syllabic marker diacritic is used, hence <petal> /ˈpɛd(ə)l/ but <petally> /ˈpɛdl̩i/.

  • i fleece, happ y
  • æ trap, bath
  • ɑ lot, palm, cloth, thought
  • ɔ cloth, thought
  • ɔr north, force
  • ə strut, comm a
  • ər nurse, lett er
  • ɛ(ə)r square
  • æ̃ sal on

Simple Text Respell

Simple text respell breaks words into syllables, separated by a hyphen. The syllable which carries the primary stress is written in capital letters. This key covers both British and U.S. English Simple Text Respell.

b, d, f, h, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, t, v, w and z have their standard English values

  • arr carry (British only)
  • a(ng) gratin
  • o lot (British only)
  • orr sorry (British only)
  • o(ng) salon

Date of use

Variant forms.

  • Middle English necy , nesy , nyci , nys , nysse
  • Middle English–1500s nycy , nyse
  • Middle English ; 1600s nece , nise , nyce
  • Middle English– nice
  • 1500s niece , nyche (probably transmission error)
  • 1700s–1800s nise
  • 1800s noist , nyste
  • 1800s– neist , neyce , nic'd , niced , nicet , nist , niste , nyst
  • pre-1700 naice , nies , nyce , nyice , nyis , nys , nyse , nyss
  • pre-1700 ; 1700s– nice

2. N.E.D. (1906) also records a form

  • Middle English neys

nice is one of the 5,000 most common words in modern written English. It is similar in frequency to words like approve , bind , concerned , rational , and victory .

It typically occurs about 30 times per million words in modern written English.

nice is in frequency band 6, which contains words occurring between 10 and 100 times per million words in modern written English. More about OED's frequency bands

Frequency of nice, adj. & adv. , 1750–2010

* Occurrences per million words in written English

Historical frequency series are derived from Google Books Ngrams (version 2), a data set based on a corpus of several million books printed in English between 1500 and 2010. The Ngrams data has been cross-checked against frequency measures from other corpora, and re-analysed in order to handle homographs and other ambiguities.

The overall frequency for a given word is calculated by summing frequencies for the main form of the word, any plural or inflected forms, and any major spelling variations.

Frequency of nice, adj. & adv. , 2017–2023

Modern frequency series are derived from a corpus of 20 billion words, covering the period from 2017 to the present. The corpus is mainly compiled from online news sources, and covers all major varieties of World English.

Compounds & derived words

  • All compounds & derived words
  • Curated compounds
  • overnice , adj. c1350– Too nice, excessively nice (in various senses). Formerly: esp. too fastidious, scrupulous, or particular.
  • nicely , adv. & adj. a1387– In a pleasing, attractive, or pleasant manner.
  • nice , n.¹ a1393–1793 A foolish or simple person; a fool.
  • nysot , n. ?c1400–1557 A wanton young woman; (also) a fool or simpleton.
  • nicehead , n. 1435–75 Over-refinement in dress. Cf. nice, adj. A.2d.
  • niced , adj. c1475–1577 Made foolish or delicate.
  • nice-conscienced , adj. 1530–1642
  • niceness , n. a1533– Esp. with reference to a person or his or her behaviour: agreeableness, pleasantness; politeness, civility.
  • niceling , n. 1549–1884 An effeminate or delicate person.
  • nice-hearted , adj. 1571–
  • nicing , adj. 1581 Disdainful, fastidious.
  • tiptoe-nice , adj. 1593 So nice or particular as to walk on tiptoe.
  • nice preserved , adj. 1594
  • nice-brained , adj. 1604
  • nice-stomached , adj. 1604–1815
  • nicery , n. 1605 = nicety, n.
  • nicefy , v. 1611– transitive. To make dainty or delicate; to make respectable or decent.
  • nice-mouthed , adj. 1618–1816
  • nice-driven , adj. 1630
  • nice-palated , adj. 1683–1730
  • nice-becoming , adj. 1727
  • nice-judging , adj. 1735–1874
  • nice-discerning , adj. 1745–1820
  • nice-scented , adj. 1777
  • nice-fingered , adj. 1785–1872
  • niceish , adj. 1793– Somewhat or fairly nice.
  • nice-sized , adj. 1799–
  • nice-spun , adj. 1801–34
  • nice-looking , adj. 1807–
  • nice-gabbit , adj. 1818– Fussy about food.
  • nice-eared , adj. a1843–52
  • nice spoken , adj. 1852–
  • nicey , adj. & n. 1859– Nice. Also reduplicated for emphasis, as nicey-nicey adj. also nicey-nice.
  • nicelookingness , n. 1865–
  • naice , adj. 1905– Frequently derogatory. Genteel, over-refined, or affected, in a manner supposed to be characteristic of or agreeable to the English upper classes.
  • nice , v. 1919– With up. Chiefly Caribbean and in British Afro-Caribbean usage. transitive. To do or perform well; to make (more) desirable, to improve.
  • Nice Nelly , n. & adj. 1922– North American colloquial (depreciative). A person who is excessively concerned with maintaining an appearance of propriety or respectability; a prudish or fastidious person. Cf. nelly, n.²…
  • nice-but-dim , adj. 1989– Designating a person regarded as foolish, incompetent, and ingenuous, while also being utterly good-natured and unmalicious.

Entry history for nice, adj. & adv.

nice, adj. & adv. was revised in September 2003

nice, adj. & adv. was last modified in September 2023 is a living text, updated every three months. Modifications may include:

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Revisions and additions of this kind were last incorporated into nice, adj. & adv. in September 2023.

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Factsheet for nice, adj. & adv., browse entry.

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From the american heritage® dictionary of the english language, 5th edition..

  • adjective Pleasing and agreeable in nature.
  • adjective Having a pleasant or attractive appearance.
  • adjective Exhibiting courtesy and politeness.
  • adjective Of good character and reputation; respectable.
  • adjective Overdelicate or fastidious; fussy.
  • adjective Showing or requiring great precision or sensitive discernment; subtle.
  • adjective Done with delicacy and skill.
  • adjective Used as an intensive with and .
  • adjective Wanton; profligate.
  • adjective Affectedly modest; coy.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Ignorant; weak; foolish.
  • Trivial; unimportant.
  • Fastidious; very particular or scrupulous; dainty; difficult to please or satisfy; exacting; squeamish.
  • Discriminating; critical; discerning; acute.
  • Characterized by exactness, accuracy, or precision; formed or performed with precision or minuteness and exactness of detail; accurate; exact; precise: as, nice proportions; nice calculations or workmanship.
  • Fine; delicate; involving or demanding scrupulous care or consideration; subtle; difficult to treat or settle.
  • Delicate; soft; tender to excess; hence, easily influenced or injured.
  • Modest; coy; reserved.
  • Pleasant or agreeable to the senses; delicate; tender; sweet; delicious; dainty; as, a nice bit; a nice tint.
  • Pleasing or agreeable in general.
  • Agreeable; pleasant; good: applied to persons.
  • [ Nice in this sense is very common in colloquial use as a general epithet of approbation applicable to anything that pleases.]
  • Synonyms Nice., Dainty, Fastidious, Squeamish , finical, delicate, exquisite, effeminate, fussy. Nice is the most general of the first four words; it suggests careful choice: as, he is nice in his language and in his dress; it is rarely used of overwrought delicacy. Dainty is stronger than nice , and ranges from a commendable particularity to fastidiousness: as, to be dainty in one's choice of clothes or company; a dainty virtue. Fastidious almost always means a somewhat proud or haughty particularity; a fastidious person is hard to please, because he objects to minute points or to some point in almost everything. Squeamish is founded upon the notion of feeling nausea; hence it means fastidious to an extreme, absurdly particular.
  • Definite, rigorous, strict.
  • Accurate, Correct, Exact , etc. See accurate .
  • Luscious, savory, palatable.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective obsolete Foolish; silly; simple; ignorant; also, weak; effeminate.
  • adjective obsolete Of trifling moment; unimportant; trivial.
  • adjective Overscrupulous or exacting; hard to please or satisfy; fastidious in small matters.
  • adjective Delicate; refined; dainty; pure.
  • adjective Apprehending slight differences or delicate distinctions; distinguishing accurately or minutely; carefully discriminating.
  • adjective Done or made with careful labor; suited to excite admiration on account of exactness; evidencing great skill; exact; fine; finished; ; exactly or fastidiously discriminated; requiring close discrimination.
  • adjective Loosely & Colloquially Pleasing; agreeable; gratifying; delightful; good
  • adjective Pleasant; kind.
  • adjective Well-mannered; well-behaved.
  • adjective [Obs.] to be scrupulous about.

from Wiktionary , Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb transitive, computing, Unix To run a process with a specified (usually lower) priority .
  • adverb colloquial Nicely .
  • interjection Used to signify a job well done .
  • interjection Used to signify approval.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective socially or conventionally correct; refined or virtuous
  • adjective done with delicacy and skill
  • noun a city in southeastern France on the Mediterranean; the leading resort on the French Riviera
  • adjective pleasant or pleasing or agreeable in nature or appearance
  • adjective excessively fastidious and easily disgusted
  • adjective exhibiting courtesy and politeness


From the american heritage® dictionary of the english language, 4th edition, from wiktionary, creative commons attribution/share-alike license.

as nice definition

Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word nice .

Hey cake luks so nice wish i can hv one..nice blog u have..

A very late entry: Coffee cake bhags 2008

Bold is like any other BlackBerry except is has nice speakers..oohhhh…..nice speakers, who cares!

Leaked Verizon document hints at release dates for Blackberry Storm and HTC Touch Diamond « Boy Genius Report 2008

Ashwini.. nice ideas and thanks for link they are really usefula nd attractive to food lovers at any party.thanks for sharing nice recipe and tips

Three mice & Radish Raita 2006

"It'll be nice for you, too," said Mrs. Banks, with a side glance at the housekeeper; "you'll have somebody to look after you and take an interest in you, and strangers can't be expected to do that even if they're _nice_."

A Master Of Craft 1903

Find a nice girl -- of course a _nice_ girl -- with a fortune large enough to put you back in your proper sphere; and it doesn't matter about me.

Marriage à la mode Humphry Ward 1885

"O papa! it has been such a nice , _nice_ evening!" she said, as she bade him good-night; "so like the dear old times I used to have with Miss Rose, only --"

Elsie Dinsmore Martha Finley 1868

"O papa! such a nice , _nice_ home as you have made for us!" exclaimed

Elsie's Kith and Kin Martha Finley 1868

I know that the nice value of a process is basically it's priority and I think a high nice% means the CPU time is taken running task (s) with high nice value (low priority). slonko 2010

pear, almond & yogurt.. nice combination & healthy too.. nice photos..

Pear and Almond Yogurt Cake (Low-Fat Snack Cake) 2008

p.s. nice article in Sept. RT mag..nice surprise for me to see you featured in it.

Ann Aguirre » Blog Archive » Feliz Cumpleaños, Ann. 2008

Related Words

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synonyms (321)

Words with the same meaning.

  • according to Hoyle
  • advantageous
  • affectionate
  • appreciative
  • appropriate
  • comfortably
  • commendable
  • compassionate
  • complaisant
  • complicated
  • concentrated
  • conscientious
  • delightfully
  • differential
  • discriminate
  • discriminating
  • discriminative
  • distinctive
  • distinguishing
  • fair and pleasant
  • gentlemanly
  • good to eat
  • good-tasting
  • gratifyingly
  • hair-splitting
  • hairsplitting
  • heart-warming
  • kindhearted
  • kindly-disposed
  • mathematical
  • mellifluous
  • micrometrically precise
  • microscopic
  • of gourmet quality
  • old-maidish
  • old-womanish
  • on the ball
  • openmouthed
  • overconscientious
  • overparticular
  • overscrupulous
  • penetrating
  • persnickety
  • pleasurable
  • pleasure-giving
  • pleasureful
  • precisianistic
  • precisionistic
  • punctilious
  • religiously exact
  • right and proper
  • satisfactory
  • satisfyingly
  • scientifically exact
  • scrumptious
  • scrutinizing
  • softhearted
  • sophisticated
  • sympathetic
  • sympathizing
  • tender-conscienced
  • tenderhearted
  • undeviating
  • unimportant
  • warm-hearted
  • warmhearted
  • well-behaved
  • well-mannered

equivalents (6)

Other words for 'nice'.

  • respectable

hypernyms (3)

Words that are more generic or abstract.

  • urban center

same context (4)

Words that are found in similar contexts, relateds (1), cross-references (17), cross-references.

  • to make nice of

rhymes (84)

Words with the same terminal sound, word visualization.

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andrew.simone commented on the word nice

An insidious and dismissive word.

as nice definition

uselessness commented on the word nice

But if you do think about it, ugh. It's like The Stepford Wives or something. The shallowest and most deceptive compliment known to man. Evil to the core.

fbharjo commented on the word nice

a fascinating word etymologically: Its meaning has turned almost 180 degrees and constantly -consistently- wa(i)vers depending on its contextual usage. It puts the "tack" in tacky

jennarenn commented on the word nice

Oh, nice encompasses all the characteristics a boy requires to date your friend. I don't care about the Stepford Wives, although I would like to know how to use italics (hint hint). Girl talk simply cannot survive without nice.

New-school italics: <em>text goes here</em>

They both look the same, but the second one is XHTML compliant, so that's what I use. Both should work on this site though.

Having never spoken girl talk, my outsider's opinion is that all y'all must be awfully shallow and catty to one another if you depend on the word nice to have conversation.

reesetee commented on the word nice

Italic s is a nice word too. ;-)

One of the attributes of nice is knowing when to keep your mouth shut. :P

Good thing I'm not interested in being nice , then. What are the attributes of freaking awesome ? :-)

yarb commented on the word nice

- Richard Henry Dana Jr., Two Years Before the Mast , ch. 25

frindley commented on the word nice

I prefer to make a nice distinction .

ambyellen commented on the word nice

a word which describes the accurate prophecies of Agnes Nutter

from the old French meaning silly or stupid: in the 18th century it meant delightful and agreeable that is a meaning almost the opposite: The compass needle of its meaning gyrates wildly: see my comment below from two years ago

Jubjub commented on the word nice

I suppose I'm really not supposed to be here. Although it looks rather... uh, nice.

bilby commented on the word nice

It is nice. Though you could always try somewhere nicer .

ruzuzu commented on the word nice

--from the Century Dictionary definition for ungodly

I keep running into people for whom there's a big difference between being "nice" and being " kind ." I think the theory is that being "nice" just means being polite , but being "kind" means saying hard truths that might seem rude but are somehow better for you.

Maybe it's like freshly baked white bread, and wholegrain. Both are pleasant but the latter has more nutrients.

There's a bit of danger involved with the "somehow better for you" bit, though. Here's a link to a New York Times Magazine article about the need for critics: The author, Dwight Garner, says, "I’m a professional book critic, someone who is paid, week in and week out, to take some of those shots. It’s a job that mostly suits my temperament. I like people — artists and civilians — who aren’t rude or censorious but who aren’t mush-mouthed either. Since childhood I’ve been a loather of America’s feel-good, everyone-on-tiptoes culture. Give me some straight talk. Give me a little humor. Give me something real. Above all, give me an argument." (I'm not entirely sure, but that argument is probably a logical or philisophical argument, rather than a fight.) So, sure, it's possible to criticize something in such a way that it's "better for you" because maybe you can fix some flaws. But sometimes that sort of kind ness seems mean . My hometown newspaper used to have a critic who'd review children's dance and theater productions. He was often right about how poor the productions were, but I can't help but wonder how many kids just stopped trying after reading his brutal reviews.

rolig commented on the word nice

"Nice, in the strict sense, and in the broad colloquial sense, was a word made for her: she was a very nice person. In a way, her pointed nose and her thin smiling lips eve suggested the expression of one who had just finished pronouncing that word. 'How nice!'"

I'm not sure what he means by "the strict sense" - perhaps "respectable", perhaps "fastidious"; by "the broad colloquial sense", he almost certainly means "pleasant and agreeable", the way most of us use the word today.

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    Fastidious, fussy, difficult to please, esp. with regard to food or cleanliness; of refined or dainty tastes. c1400 (?c1380). Þis

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    adjective Done or made with careful labor; suited to excite admiration on account of exactness; evidencing great skill; exact; fine; finished; ; exactly or