Main definitions of nice in US English:

: nice1Nice2

nice1

adjective

  • 1Pleasant; agreeable; satisfactory.

    ‘we had a nice time’
    ‘that wasn't very nice of him’
    ‘Jeremy had been very nice to her’
    • ‘The film is billed as a romance, but the two travellers spend too long exchanging pleasantries and being nice to each other to get any sparks going.’
    • ‘It would be nice to make the town more attractive to its residents.’
    • ‘A one-day game is like a nice film - briefly satisfying, but seldom remaining long in the memory.’
    • ‘She's one of those fun, lovely, nice to know, but never-to-be-relied-upon types.’
    • ‘By way of an experiment you could always try being nice to us - you might be pleasantly surprised.’
    • ‘Previously for coastal France I've only been to the Med and it is nice to see waves again; they make a beach complete.’
    • ‘It's nice to entertain the crowd and I certainly try to do that if I get in, but that's not the main focus.’
    • ‘I still think it must be nice to be so accepted, so certain of who and what you are, but that's not me.’
    • ‘If estate agents were in charge, there'd be none of this - it'd be something nice, pleasant and attractive.’
    • ‘A nice attractive business district around the station was a far cry from Detroit.’
    • ‘If it has attractive art and nice looking parts I'm much more inclined to give it a try.’
    • ‘Simply add a spoonful or two of yoghurt to your green lettuce to get a nice quick and satisfying snack.’
    • ‘The majority of men will always find images of attractive women nice to look at.’
    • ‘Isn't there something nice and satisfying about the feel of a new roll of kitchen foil?’
    • ‘We didn't win but it was nice to have been accepted on our first attempts.’
    • ‘While it would be nice to be able to cure everything with a nice, neat, simple solution, life is not like that.’
    • ‘Individually I dare say they are all sweet and lovely and nice to their kids and help the old folks across the roads.’
    • ‘It was nice to see them and we had a pleasant afternoon and evening.’
    • ‘Jackson gave the thumbs up sign, and let a nice, big, satisfied grin sweep over his face.’
    • ‘While it would have been nice to get two wins in Victoria, Mason was satisfied with his team's play.’
    enjoyable, pleasant, pleasurable, agreeable, delightful, satisfying, gratifying, acceptable, to one's liking, entertaining, amusing, diverting, marvellous, good
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    1. 1.1 (of a person) pleasant in manner; good-natured; kind.
      ‘he's a really nice guy’
      • ‘People were nice to me; they smiled, they laughed, they asked me how I was.’
      • ‘I used to think that everything could be solved by people being nice to each other.’
      • ‘People being nice to me, pretty girls trying to be my friend, it didn't happen every day.’
      • ‘His writing is amazing and he is the first blogger I read - but not a nice guy on a personal level.’
      • ‘I was very nice to the guy who called, after all, he was just the survey taker.’
      • ‘Ray says he's a nice guy, but people are starting to get upset with him because he never turns off his cellphone.’
      • ‘I got it from a friend of mine; she was really nice to make it for me.’
      • ‘I wasn't going to be mean, because he was too nice of a person to make a snappy comment towards.’
      • ‘There's a saying that if someone is nice to you and mean to the waiter, then he's not really a very nice person.’
      • ‘I mean, if you look like a nice guy, people are going to trust you.’
      • ‘She was so nice to people she met too, signing autographs for everyone.’
      • ‘People are very nice to you and you get a chance to live a very interesting and exciting life.’
      • ‘How could an evil guy like Prince Jonas be friends with such a nice person as Adrian?’
      • ‘I think people are too nice to make too big a thing about it.’
      • ‘People were nice to me and also I am always good to the Japanese people when they come to America.’
      • ‘But they're so nice to be around and I don't feel bad about myself when they're near.’
      • ‘This guy who I keep telling you about, he's nice to me again and talks to me like such a good friend.’
      • ‘He was especially nice to Mimi, whom he treated with a gentle solicitude both on and off camera, exactly how he must have been with Takako.’
      • ‘The girls loved Chris, the guys were cool with him, and he was relatively nice to every person he met.’
      • ‘They're always nice to all of us and they try to understand our problems and help us deal with them.’
      pleasant, likeable, agreeable, personable, charming, delightful, amiable, affable, friendly, kindly, genial, congenial, good-natured, engaging, gracious, sympathetic, understanding, compassionate, good
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  • 2Fine or subtle.

    ‘a nice distinction’
    • ‘In fact, I doubt that the nice distinction which Mr Mostyn sought to draw will be capable of identification in most cases.’
    • ‘It is not the sort of nonsense that can arise even in the best system of law out of the need to draw nice distinctions between borderline cases.’
    subtle, fine, delicate, minute, precise, exact, accurate, strict, close, careful, meticulous, rigorous, scrupulous, ultra-fine
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    1. 2.1 Requiring careful thought or attention.
      ‘a nice point’
      • ‘It is a nice point, and it is for that reason that I am anxious to obtain your opinion.’
      • ‘I think you really made a nice point.’
  • 3archaic Fastidious; scrupulous.

    • ‘But she is nice and coy.’
    • ‘The figure of Justice, you know, is represented with a balance to weigh out to every one his due, with nice and scrupulous exactness.’
    scrupulous, punctilious, painstaking, meticulous, assiduous, sedulous, perfectionist, fussy, finicky, dainty, over-particular
    View synonyms

Usage

Nice originally had a number of meanings, including ‘fine, subtle, discriminating’ (they are not very nice in regard to the company they keep); ‘refined in taste, hard to please, fastidious’ (for company so nice, the finest caterers would be engaged); and ‘precise, strict’ (she has a nice sense of decorum). The overuse of nice to mean ‘pleasant, agreeable, satisfactory’ has rendered the word rather trite: we had a very nice time this is a nice room he's a nice boy

Phrases

  • make nice (or nice-nice)

    • informal Be pleasant or polite to someone, typically in a hypocritical way.

      ‘the seat next to him was empty, so he wasn't required to make nice with a stranger’
      • ‘I've tried, largely in vain, to make nice with her.’
      • ‘And then, Wal-Mart fights back, and we'll tell you how the retailer is trying to make nice with thousands of Californians unhappy with its expansion.’
      • ‘As far as I can tell, Wilgoren is following one of the unwritten rules of the trade: romanticize Vietnam-era leftism as much as you want, but don't make nice with the aggressive leftists of today.’
      • ‘Bush and Fox were making nice at the recent Summit of the Americas in Monterrey, Mexico, about Fox's immigration policy pretenses, with ‘free trade’ issues pushed to the backest of burners.’
      • ‘All of this is very important because the Democratic party will be a cracked vessel without both camps coming together, not to agree on everything or make nice, but to build a powerful coalition.’
      • ‘Instead of training him in American football - and time zones - and encouraging him to read USA Today - training him to make nice, basically - they'd trained him to do his job.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, one sees constant photo-ops of the President making nice with the Saudis, who have reasons of their own to worry about destabilization, while Kurdish leaders are met with in secret and at a much lower level.’
      • ‘Everyone was making nice at the White House Christmas party for the press.’
      • ‘Well, the two will have to make nice on ‘The Simple Life 4.’’
      • ‘The two pretend to make nice during a break from a press junket, while hidden slights and resentments come bubbling up to the surface and stretch their guise of polite conversation long past its breaking point.’
  • nice and —

    • Satisfactorily or adequately in terms of the quality described.

      ‘it's nice and warm in here’
      • ‘I wanted to stay inside this shop forever as it was nice and warm and dry inside.’
      • ‘The mash was nice and creamy, but not pulped to mush, and then there were some crunchy sweet potato crisps to top it all off.’
      • ‘That is nice and clean, except none of that has happened in the Ching Cheong case.’
      • ‘Harry Cat was still tucked up nice and warm, sleeping a deep and almost twitch-less sleep.’
      • ‘I made a nice and easy swing in slow tempo, and there was no other way but to hit the ball perfectly well.’
      • ‘Now the book's no work of art, but it's certainly tightly plotted and nice and tense, which is all it set out to be.’
      • ‘Afterwards my sister took the younguns home, where they got off to bed nice and early.’
      • ‘The seats are nice and comfortable, with the sports seats on most models featuring extra side bolsters.’
      • ‘I look at the pretty couples, nice and happy around me, and I want to be part of that crowd.’
      • ‘She had smiled, and it was nice and informal, but actually there is something slightly regal about her.’
  • nice one

    • 1informal Expressing approval or commendation.

      • ‘Paul Royston recently supplied the lads with new track suits and training jackets, nice one Paul.’
      • ‘I think this a really interesting topic - nice one!’
      • ‘That made me laugh Grant, nice one, I'm going to start using that like the ‘prison style’ phrase.’
      • ‘But when you're walking down the street in Liverpool people you don't know shout out, ‘alright Liz, nice one girl’ and give you the thumbs up.’
      • ‘But, y'know, nice one Jimbo and all that, but who cares?’
      • ‘Randy - so, software plus a region 1 dongle could be the answer… nice one!’
      • ‘Looks like the site is hosted by Abe Abstract Dynamics Burmeister - nice one.’
      • ‘Heh - no sooner do I idly wish out loud for a potential hacker version of the Caesar blog then I get mailed this by the man himself - nice one, Caesar.’
      • ‘His wife looked exhausted apparently… nice one Michael!’
      • ‘A top collection and very cool show, nice one Paul!’
      1. 1.1Used sarcastically to comment on an inept act.
        ‘oh, nice one, she put her finger up to her eye and tugged at the skin’
        • ‘He had failed to remember that it was Mother's Day - nice one mate.’
        • ‘A big thanks to whoever that was who woke me up at 4ish this afternoon: nice one.’
  • nice to meet you

    • A polite formula used on being introduced to someone.

      • ‘He sticks out his hand out towards Ella, ‘Hi, I'm Shaun, Adam's cousin, nice to meet you.’’
      • ‘‘It's nice to meet you too,’ Ally replied, trying not to be overwhelmed by Pam's presence.’
      • ‘‘It's nice to meet you,’ she said with all the anger out of her voice.’
      • ‘As you shake hands, repeat the person's name to lock it into your memory: ‘Hi, Tiffany, so nice to meet you!’’
      • ‘‘It's nice to meet you, Gavin,’ I smiled; I couldn't seem to stop smiling at that moment.’
      • ‘Well my reply is, I don't know James - and it is nice to meet you, by the way - but everyone says he is skeptical.’
      • ‘‘Hey Geoff, nice to meet you,’ Gabe said, extending his hand towards him.’
      • ‘‘It's nice to meet you also,’ Alcott said, reaching for Harry's hand.’
      • ‘I nodded and made the polite response, ‘It's nice to meet you too, Mr. Scotia.’’
      • ‘‘Hi, nice to meet you,’ Lizzie said nodding, although she wasn't looking at them.’
  • nice work

    • informal Expressing approval of a task well done.

      • ‘But nice work in the last couple of tribal councils.’
      • ‘Looks like you dudes have been busy blogging without me… nice work!’
      • ‘People in the parasite world have said: Oh fantastic, nice work, it's great to see something new and something different.’
      • ‘Thank you for joining us, very nice work on a very comprehensive piece here.’
      • ‘‘Not bad, I'll see if the evidence matches up with that… nice work Aimée,’ he said with a weary smile.’
      • ‘I heard they're even in the process of doing some cool music giveaways… nice work kids!’
      • ‘So Horner did hold on for a top ten finish, nice work that.’
      • ‘My other teammate Tim had hung tough as usual with the front group, and ended up with 7th place, nice work, hotshot.’
      • ‘Very nice work MS… a truly masterful, insightful and down right useful page.’
      • ‘Oh, Photoshop Elements team: nice work removing the undo icon from the layer styles menu.’
  • nice work if you can get it

    • informal Used to express envy of what is perceived to be another person's more favorable situation, especially if they seem to have reached it with little effort.

      • ‘Being a film critic is nice work if you can get it, but sometimes hazard pay seems more than fair.’
      • ‘It's nice work if you can get it - the pay's good, and you don't feel like you're doing anything very wrong.’
      • ‘And, of course, he got so much dosh for playing God - nice work if you can get it - that all those millions mean he can have exactly what he wants, exactly when he wants it.’
      • ‘The UK's five biggest banks made a combined profit of £30 billion last year, which sounds like nice work if you can get it!’
      • ‘Don't get me wrong, it's nice work if you can get it.’
      • ‘The irony of Hit List is that relative to a lot of the soulless, depressing jobs people do in a consumer society, assassination really can seem like nice work if you can get it.’
      • ‘He or she will work a four-day week and the salary is around £80,000 a year - nice work if you can get it.’
      • ‘Most advisers pocket both payments, which is nice work if you can get it.’
      • ‘That's astonishing, nice work if you can get it.’
      • ‘It occurs to me, not for the first time, that this is nice work if you can get it, a job in which you are putting in unusually long hours if you stay until 1pm, not exactly having started at the crack of dawn.’

Origin

Middle English (in the sense ‘stupid’): from Old French, from Latin nescius ‘ignorant’, from nescire ‘not know’. Other early senses included ‘coy, reserved’, giving rise to ‘fastidious, scrupulous’: this led both to the sense ‘fine, subtle’ (regarded by some as the ‘correct’ sense), and to the main current senses.

Pronunciation

nice

/nīs//naɪs/

Main definitions of nice in US English:

: nice1Nice2

Nice2

proper noun

  • A resort city on the French Riviera, near the border with Italy; population 348,721 (2007).

Pronunciation

Nice

/nis//nēs/