There are 3 main definitions of nice in English:

Share this entry

nice 1

Pronunciation: /nʌɪs/


1Giving pleasure or satisfaction; pleasant or attractive: we had a very nice time
More example sentences
  • If estate agents were in charge, there'd be none of this - it'd be something nice, pleasant and attractive.
  • The majority of men will always find images of attractive women nice to look at.
  • 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.
enjoyable, pleasant, pleasurable, agreeable, delightful, satisfying, gratifying, acceptable, to one's liking, entertaining, amusing, diverting, marvellous, good;
Scottish  bonny, couthy
Jamaican irie
informal lovely, great
North American informal neat
South African informal lekker, mooi
1.1(Of a person) good-natured; kind: he’s a nicer man than Mark Joe had been very nice to her
More example sentences
  • I was very nice to the guy who called, after all, he was just the survey taker.
  • The girls loved Chris, the guys were cool with him, and he was relatively nice to every person he met.
  • I wasn't going to be mean, because he was too nice of a person to make a snappy comment towards.
pleasant, likeable, agreeable, personable, charming, delightful, amiable, affable, friendly, kindly, genial, congenial, good-natured, engaging, gracious, sympathetic, understanding, compassionate, good
1.2 ironic Not good; unpleasant: that’s a nice way to come into my kitchen—no greeting!
More example sentences
  • Irony of ironies the painting is now in the Tate Britain Lost Property Office - nice touch.
  • Well that's a nice way to greet me when I've flown all the way from Perth!
2(Especially of a difference) slight or subtle: there is a nice distinction between self-sacrifice and martyrdom
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • In fact, I doubt that the nice distinction which Mr Mostyn sought to draw will be capable of identification in most cases.
2.1Requiring careful consideration: a nice point
More example sentences
  • I think you really made a nice point.
  • It is a nice point, and it is for that reason that I am anxious to obtain your opinion.
3 archaic Fastidious; scrupulous.
Example sentences
  • 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.



make nice (or nice-nice)

North American informal Be pleasant or polite to someone, typically in a hypocritical way: the seat next him was empty, so he wasn’t required to make nice with a stranger
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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.

nice and ——

Satisfactorily in terms of the quality described: it’s nice and warm in here
More example sentences
  • I wanted to stay inside this shop forever as it was nice and warm and dry inside.
  • Afterwards my sister took the younguns home, where they got off to bed nice and early.
  • Harry Cat was still tucked up nice and warm, sleeping a deep and almost twitch-less sleep.

nice one

British informal Used to express approval: thunderous applause and cries of ‘Nice one!’
More example sentences
  • 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?
  • His wife looked exhausted apparently… nice one Michael!

nice to meet you

A polite formula used on being introduced to someone.
Example sentences
  • I nodded and made the polite response, ‘It's nice to meet you too, Mr. Scotia.’
  • As you shake hands, repeat the person's name to lock it into your memory: ‘Hi, Tiffany, so nice to meet you!’
  • 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.

nice work

British informal Used to express approval of a task well done: ‘You did a good job today—nice work, James.’
More example sentences
  • But nice work in the last couple of tribal councils.
  • Looks like you dudes have been busy blogging without me… nice work!
  • I heard they're even in the process of doing some cool music giveaways… nice work kids!

nice work if you can get it

informal Used to express envy of what is perceived to be another person’s more favourable situation, which they seem to have attained with little effort: the princess was on her way to some lavish dinner—nice work if you can get it, I thought
More example sentences
  • Don't get me wrong, it's nice work if you can get it.
  • 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 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.



Example sentences
  • I never did a niceish picture without a letter from him, warm-hearted and unstinted in praise.
  • After taking a few niceish photographs I moved on to Skukuza for Breakfast.
  • I plan to cook for myself, which I enjoy doing, but I reckon you'd need that much to have three niceish meals a day.


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.

  • In medieval English nice meant ‘foolish, silly, ignorant’, from its Latin source nescius ‘ignorant’. It developed a range of largely negative senses, from ‘dissolute’, ‘ostentatious, showy’, ‘unmanly, cowardly’, and ‘delicate, fragile’ to ‘strange, rare’, and ‘coy, reserved’. In Love's Labour Lost Shakespeare talks of ‘nice wenches’, meaning ‘disreputable women’. The word was first used in the more positive sense ‘fine or subtle’ (as in a nice distinction) in the 16th century, and the current main meanings, ‘pleasant’ and ‘kind’, seem to have been in common use from the mid 18th century. This example from a letter written in 1769 sounds very contemporary: ‘I intend to dine with Mrs. Borgrave, and in the evening to take a nice walk.’ The development of the word's senses from negative to positive is similar to that of pretty. Nice guys finish last is credited to Leo Durocher, manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team from 1951 to 1954. In his 1975 autobiography Nice Guys Finish Last he is quoted as saying of a rival team: ‘Take a look at them. All nice guys. They'll finish last. Nice guys. Finish last.’

Words that rhyme with nice

advice, bice, Brice, choc ice, concise, dice, entice, gneiss, ice, imprecise, lice, mice, precise, price, rice, sice, slice, speiss, spice, splice, suffice, syce, thrice, top-slice, trice, twice, underprice, vice, Zeiss

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: nice

Share this entry

There are 3 main definitions of nice in English:

Share this entry

Nice 2

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

Words that rhyme with Nice

anis, apiece, Berenice, caprice, cassis, cease, coulisse, crease, Dumfries, fils, fleece, geese, grease, Greece, kris, lease, Lucrece, MacNeice, Matisse, McAleese, niece, obese, peace, pelisse, police, Rees, Rhys, set piece, sublease, surcease, two-piece, underlease

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: Nice

Share this entry

There are 3 main definitions of nice in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /nʌɪs/


(In England and Wales) National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: NICE

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.