Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


She had a belief that her father's house was nicer than other people's houses.

I don't know which was nicer, Jessica, Nora's wedding or yours.

He thought it would be nicer to go to the copse, and so they moved on up the lane.

Nothing makes a nicer tourte in this way than large soles, taking off the flesh from the backbone, without the side fins.

No, Hosy, she's nicer to us than she was at first because it's her nature to be nice.

Well, you see, it's nicer here by the river, and it's cheaper too; and—how's aunt Kate?

Because we think pretty and clean is nicer than ugly and dirty!

Even your tea is nicer, it is more fragrant than any one else's.

Of course it is nicer if you go; though I wouldn't take you if you don't like it.

What could be keener or nobler or nicer than Linacre's judgement?


late 13c., "foolish, stupid, senseless," from Old French nice (12c.) "careless, clumsy; weak; poor, needy; simple, stupid, silly, foolish," from Latin nescius "ignorant, unaware," literally "not-knowing," from ne- "not" (see un-) + stem of scire "to know" (see science). "The sense development has been extraordinary, even for an adj." [Weekley] -- from "timid" (pre-1300); to "fussy, fastidious" (late 14c.); to "dainty, delicate" (c.1400); to "precise, careful" (1500s, preserved in such terms as a nice distinction and nice and early); to "agreeable, delightful" (1769); to "kind, thoughtful" (1830).

By 1926, it was pronounced "too great a favorite with the ladies, who have charmed out of it all its individuality and converted it into a mere diffuser of vague and mild agreeableness." [Fowler]