nicety

noun
nice·​ty | \ ˈnī-sə-tē How to pronounce nicety (audio) , -stē \
plural niceties

Definition of nicety

1 : the quality or state of being nice
2 : an elegant, delicate, or civilized feature enjoy the niceties of life
3 : a fine point or distinction : subtlety the niceties of table manners
4 : careful attention to details : delicate exactness : precision
5 : delicacy of taste or feeling : fastidiousness
to a nicety
: exactly, accurately … liked doing a quiet business in which they were sure of their customers, and could calculate their returns to a nicety.— George Eliot

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Examples of nicety in a Sentence

knows all the niceties of diplomatic protocol a woman too fond of the niceties of urban living to even consider becoming a farmer's wife
Recent Examples on the Web But there was no statement of joint resolve to cooperate on any of those issues, the sort of diplomatic nicety that routinely seals such high-level meetings. New York Times, "Tense Talks With China Left U.S. ‘Cleareyed’ About Beijing’s Intentions, Officials Say," 19 Mar. 2021 Being a good loser isn’t a norm or a nicety of democracy. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, "Democracy Depends on Good Losers," 14 Nov. 2020 The traditional nicety was one of several formalities abandoned because of the ongoing pandemic. Katelyn Umholtz, NOLA.com, "How did the 1st presidential debate go? It veered from 'How you doing?' to 'Will you shut up?'," 29 Sep. 2020 Prefacing this sensitive subject with a nicety is most polite. Hannah Herrera Greenspan, chicagotribune.com, "Social Graces: Someone you know has recovered from coronavirus and wants to hang out. Here’s how to handle.," 5 Aug. 2020 Prefacing this sensitive subject with a nicety is most polite. Hannah Herrera Greenspan, chicagotribune.com, "Social Graces: Someone you know has recovered from coronavirus and wants to hang out. Here’s how to handle.," 5 Aug. 2020 Treating opponents as friends would be more than a nicety. John C. Danforth And Matt Malone, WSJ, "A First Step Toward Loving Our Enemies," 3 Sep. 2020 Prefacing this sensitive subject with a nicety is most polite. Hannah Herrera Greenspan, chicagotribune.com, "Social Graces: Someone you know has recovered from coronavirus and wants to hang out. Here’s how to handle.," 5 Aug. 2020 Prefacing this sensitive subject with a nicety is most polite. Hannah Herrera Greenspan, chicagotribune.com, "Social Graces: Someone you know has recovered from coronavirus and wants to hang out. Here’s how to handle.," 5 Aug. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nicety.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of nicety

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for nicety

Middle English nicete, from Anglo-French niceté foolishness, from nice, adjective

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Time Traveler for nicety

Time Traveler

The first known use of nicety was in the 14th century

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Statistics for nicety

Last Updated

23 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Nicety.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nicety. Accessed 8 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for nicety

nicety

noun

English Language Learners Definition of nicety

: a small detail and especially one that is a part of polite or proper behavior

nicety

noun
ni·​ce·​ty | \ ˈnī-sə-tē How to pronounce nicety (audio) \
plural niceties

Kids Definition of nicety

1 : something dainty, delicate, or of especially good quality
2 : a fine detail that is considered part of polite or proper behavior Grandma taught me the niceties of setting a table.

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Comments on nicety

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