nice·​ty | \ˈnī-sə-tē, -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

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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

Gifted niceties such as ice buckets and cheese spreaders found new homes. Bonnie S. Benwick, The Seattle Times, "Kitchen confidential: How I downsized the most important room in the house," 24 Sep. 2018 The legal niceties apart, central bankers are ill-equipped to choose inflation targets. Amar Bhidé, WSJ, "Congress Should Set the Fed’s Inflation Target—Ideally at Zero," 6 Nov. 2018 But Trump is not one to put the niceties of the policymaking process over the partisan political needs of the moment. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "The cynical politics of John Bolton’s “Troika of Tyranny”," 1 Nov. 2018 Some, however, have voiced reservations about how Trump — who is not known for adhering to diplomatic niceties — will deal with the delicate issue of royal etiquette and protocol. NBC News, "Trump is set to meet the queen. Here's what he shouldn't do.," 8 July 2018 There is something to be said for his refusal to subscribe to the conventional diplomatic niceties. Ciara Nugent, Time, "'An Unprecedented Scandal': How Newspapers Around the World Reacted to Trump's Behavior at the G-7 Summit," 11 June 2018 Mr Trump, unburdened by such niceties, tried them both, sometimes in the same breath. The Economist, "The rising cost of America First," 14 June 2018 The picture this collection makes is one of a genius who is herself maddened by social niceties, and all the other tedious obstacles of the daily capitalist grind. Brittany Allen, Longreads, "Getting Tricked by Helen DeWitt," 9 July 2018 Don't believe the sweet, treacly greetings exchanged between Wind Gap residents for a second — these niceties mask the real dynamics at work., "Meet The Cast & Characters Of Sharp Objects, HBO’s Darkest Show Yet," 5 July 2018

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



nice try





Statistics for nicety

Last Updated

12 Dec 2018

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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 \
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

Comments on nicety

What made you want to look up nicety? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


having a pattern of small flowers

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