Wednesday, April 13, 2016

N- Nice #atozchallenge

Word origins often intrigue me - check out the origin of "nice" - talk about a change over time!!

Nice meant ignorant or foolish Back in the fourteenth century and has evolved many times over to now signify pleasant and kind. Yes, we can all remake ourselves, just like nice did, bit by bit, year by year. 

"The word nice, derived from Latin nescius meaning ‘ignorant’, began life in the fourteenth century as a term for ‘foolish’ or ‘silly’. From there it embraced many a negative quality, including wantonness, extravagance, and ostentation, as well as cowardice and sloth. In the Middle Ages it took on the more neutral attributes of shyness and reserve. It was society’s admiration of such qualities in the eighteenth century that brought on the more positively charged meanings of ‘nice’ that had been vying for a place for much of the word’s history, and the values of respectability and virtue began to take over. Such positive associations remain today, when the main meaning of ‘nice’ is ‘pleasant’ (if with a hint of damning with faint praise; it may yet turn full circle)" from Oxford Dictionary


  1. Welp, there goes my understanding of the older version of the word. :P I read Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman's "Good Omens" many years ago, and they explained "nice" as being something like "accurate."

  2. It's really interesting how words can change their meaning over the years. I guess it was slang of the time that just stuck. Much like how "sick" means good now

  3. My husband has never liked the word "nice". He feels that it sounds condescending, even if it's not meant to be. Yes, it really is amazing how the meaning of words change over time. I found your blog through the A to Z Challenge.

  4. As a teacher, nice is a word we are always trying to get students to use less of in their work - your post today could help! Lovely to have met through the Challenge :)
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