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

The ragged edges indicate that the artist, a Syrian Kurd who lives in the Washington area, has no time for niceties. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, "In the galleries: At two Washington spaces, art of a political caliber," 16 Aug. 2019 The questions are meant to humiliate Celeste and degrade her and, ultimately, break her; there is, for all the formal niceties playing out in Judge Cipriani’s courtroom, a quiet barbarity to the whole thing. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "Big Little Lies Forgot the Thing That Made It Great," 16 July 2019 But Britain's public isn't much for royal niceties. Petra Cahill, NBC News, "Trump greets Queen Elizabeth II and insults London's mayor: The Morning Rundown," 3 June 2019 Donald Trump’s presidency, as always, has clarified the true motivations of conservative America, which no longer pretends to care about the niceties of the Framers’ views on the English Bill of Rights. Ryu Spaeth, The New Republic, "Gun Culture Has Always Been About White Supremacy," 4 Aug. 2019 Stonewall and this parade represent the phase of the fight when niceties were put aside and progress was sought through riotous battle. Andrew Solomon, New York Times, "The First New York Pride March Was an Act of ‘Desperate Courage’," 27 June 2019 Honnold is an eccentric and obsessive visionary, oblivious to the protocols and niceties of social interaction. Hannah Rosefield, The New Yorker, "Do Good Climbers Make Good Capitalists?," 22 July 2019 But the book industry hasn’t been bound by that nicety. Paul Daugherty,, "Doc's Morning Line: Is the Cincinnati Reds pitching staff waning? We're about to find out.," 14 July 2019 Fierce power battles rage beneath the niceties and social rituals, as do unexpected alliances. Ty Burr,, "A beguiling and hermetic world in ‘The Third Wife’," 3 July 2019

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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Dictionary Entries near nicety



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Last Updated

22 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for nicety

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

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More Definitions for nicety



English Language Learners Definition of nicety

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


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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More from Merriam-Webster on nicety

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for nicety

Spanish Central: Translation of nicety

Nglish: Translation of nicety for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of nicety for Arabic Speakers

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