Definition of nicety in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈnīsədē/

noun (plural niceties)

(usually niceties)
1A fine detail or distinction, especially one regarded as intricate and fussy: she was never interested in the niceties of Greek and Latin
More example sentences
  • But why be squeamish about fine points and legal niceties when we're at war?
  • Fry's displaced neighbors may not have known it, but their financial future hung on a legal nicety - the distinction between real estate and personal property or, in legal terms, chattel.
  • Legal niceties matter only when the interests of enemies are at stake.
subtlety, fine point, nuance, refinement, detail
1.1Accuracy or precision: she prided herself on her nicety of pronunciation
More example sentences
  • Last year, Porto brushed aside Monaco; the previous year Milan won on penalties after a match that was long on tactical nicety but short on excitement for the neutral.
  • This confluence happens 100 yards behind Bath railway station, and matches the city's nicety of line.
  • Nevertheless, the book is rich in historical nicety culled from scholarly sources, and the avid fan of cultural folklore and the role of fraternal societies will experience it as a tough but rewarding nut to crack.
1.2A minor aspect of polite social behavior; a detail of etiquette: we were brought up to observe the niceties
More example sentences
  • She would not mince her words or thoughts and never subscribed to social niceties of polite but fallacious and insincere expressions.
  • The outside, or biruni, is by contrast a public space where social niceties must be observed.
  • You don't have to follow the rules of social decorum or the niceties of society because you are privileged.


to a nicety

Example sentences
  • Come the next election and these guys were beginning to suspect that the populace had them sussed to a nicety and, lacking any other credible platform, began to play the nationalist card.
  • Each is provided with an eight-inch cylinder, which may be made to revolve by a delicate system of clockwork so finely regulated that both instruments work together to a nicety.
  • Dawson and Wilkinson have played so much together as to have the ploy down to a nicety which, at the crunch, as the World Cup final so graphically illustrated, can be just the ticket.


Middle English (in the sense 'folly, foolish conduct'): from Old French nicete, based on Latin nescius 'ignorant' (see nice).

Words that rhyme with nicety


For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ni·ce·ty

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