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

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 other reason Democrats are flipping out is that Mr. Cervas paid little attention to the usual political nicety of incumbent protection. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 17 May 2022 Assure them that this is the way both of you were raised, and the nicety is regional. Abigail Van Buren, oregonlive, 29 Nov. 2021 Before there was Big Tech, there were the Big Three: Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors—and an infamous memo that cemented in the collective consciousness of the American public that strong regulation was a necessity, not a nicety. Mar Hicks, Wired, 14 Oct. 2021 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, 19 Mar. 2021 Being a good loser isn’t a norm or a nicety of democracy. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 14 Nov. 2020 The traditional nicety was one of several formalities abandoned because of the ongoing pandemic. Katelyn Umholtz,, 29 Sep. 2020 Prefacing this sensitive subject with a nicety is most polite. Hannah Herrera Greenspan,, 5 Aug. 2020 Prefacing this sensitive subject with a nicety is most polite. Hannah Herrera Greenspan,, 5 Aug. 2020 See More

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.

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

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Dictionary Entries Near nicety

nice try



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Cite this Entry

“Nicety.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for nicety


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on nicety

Nglish: Translation of nicety for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of nicety for Arabic Speakers


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