Definition of nicety in English:

nicety

Syllabification: ni·ce·ty
Pronunciation: /ˈnīsitē
 
/

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.
    Synonyms
    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.
    Synonyms
  • 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.

Phrases

to a nicety

Precisely.
More 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.

Origin

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

More definitions of nicety

Definition of nicety in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day coloratura
Pronunciation: ˌkələrəˈto͝orə
noun
elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody