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90s Slang You Should Know


[nahy-si-tee] /ˈnaɪ sɪ ti/
noun, plural niceties.
a delicate or fine point; punctilio:
niceties of protocol.
a fine distinction; subtlety; detail:
the niceties of the filigree work.
Usually, niceties. a refined, elegant, or choice feature, as of manner or living:
working hard to acquire the niceties of life.
exactness or precision.
the quality of being nice; niceness.
delicacy of character, as of something requiring care or tact:
a matter of considerable nicety.
Origin of nicety
1275-1325; Middle English: silliness, extravagance, cleverness < Old French niceté. See nice, -ty2
Related forms
overnicety, noun, plural overniceties.
Can be confused
nice, niceness, nicety. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for niceties
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Mr. Fowler grew reckless of the niceties of speech as he accelerated his replies.

    The Incendiary W. A. (William Augustine) Leahy
  • But Delancy had no time to fritter away on niceties of etiquette.

    Making People Happy Thompson Buchanan
  • To dwell happily together they should be versed in the niceties of the heart and born with a faculty for willing compromise.

  • Burke, however, as usual, paid no heed to the niceties of sentiment.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • Again the big track boss smashed through the niceties of logic.

    The Sleuth of St. James's Square Melville Davisson Post
  • The niceties of life are always matters of small care but great moment.

    The Etiquette of To-day Edith B. Ordway
  • It is not difficult to prevent this evil by great cleanliness, and giving it no meat or other niceties.

British Dictionary definitions for niceties


noun (pl) -ties
a subtle point of delicacy or distinction: a nicety of etiquette
(usually pl) a refinement or delicacy: the niceties of first-class travel
subtlety, delicacy, or precision
excessive refinement; fastidiousness
to a nicety, with precision
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for niceties



mid-14c., "folly, stupidity," from Old French niceté "foolishness, childishness, simplicity," from nice "silly" (see nice). Underwent sense evolution parallel to nice, arriving at "minute, subtle point" 1580s and "exactitude" in 1650s. Phrase to a nicety "exactly" is attested from 1795.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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