Nice is a city in southeast France. It was founded by Greek mariners around 350 BC and named after Nike, the goddess of victory.

It became a popular resort after it was discovered by rich Englishmen in the 18th century. The famous Promenade des Anglais was built with their financial sponsorship.


A pleasing and agreeable quality or condition: a nice day; a nice dress. Also, a polite and pleasant manner: She had a very nice demeanor.

The adjective nice is used in many ways, and its meaning has become rather tangled. This week’s edition of That’s What They Say features University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan discussing the word, its etymology, and obsolete senses.

The related nouns nice and nicety have the same definition as nice, and are often used interchangeably. However, neat is more precise in its sense of being clean and tidy, while nice stresses a delicate and subtle perception: a nice distinction. Other synonyms for nice include correct, accurate, exact, and right, all of which imply fidelity to fact or truth with great precision and delicacy. Finicky and fussy are other words that mean nice, but these have different connotations.


Nice means pleasant and agreeable, as in having a nice day or being nice to someone. It can also be used as an intensifier before words indicating precision, tact, or skill: a nice handling of the crisis; a nice shot at hockey.

In the 14th century, nice came through French as nescius, an adjective meaning silly or foolish, which evolved into a positive sense of refined taste, and later a sense of cultured character and respectability. This evolution contrasts with the way in which the word silly has come to mean unsophisticated and ignorant. In the 19th century, nice shifted further to mean choosy and fastidious. It is this sense that is most common today. It can also be used to express agreement or appreciation: it is very nice of you to say that. See also: neat, proper, right, suitable, virtuous. From Middle English nice, nisce, from Old French niçois, niche, from Latin nescius. See also: nice, correct, exact, precise, chaste.


Despite its confusing semantic history, nice is still used as a compliment. However, it’s not always accurate to describe something as nice.

The word nice has several meanings, and it’s important to use the correct one in your writing. Here are some examples:

Using “nice” with a noun can indicate that it’s pleasant: It’s a nice day, and I hope you have a nice time. However, you can also use it before adjectives and adverbs: It’s a very nice house.

In Unix systems, the program nice() sets a process’ nice value (a non-negative priority) to a given increment, allowing it to run more or less frequently than other processes. A process’s nice value can be changed for its system scope threads, but the increment cannot exceed 2*(NZERO). The default nice value is 0 for unprivileged processes. Nice() returns the new nice value, or -1 if an error occurred. See the documentation for more details.


Nice is a remarkably versatile word that has many different senses. It can mean silly or foolish, but it can also mean pleasant or agreeable. In the past, it could also mean fastidious or precise.

The first English use of nice dates back to the 14th century. It came to English through early French, from the Latin nescius, meaning ignorant. Over the centuries, it acquired a range of other meanings, including dainty, delicate, and respectful.

Nice is a city in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region of France. It is the administrative capital of the Alpes-Maritimes department and is a major economic centre. The city has a population of around 300,000 people and is known for its mild climate, attracting many tourists. Its clear air and soft light have appealed to notable painters such as Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse, and Niki de Saint Phalle. Nice is also the home of several international writers, including Anton Chekhov and Frank Harris.