Something Nice

Perhaps one of the most overused (and abused) words in the English language is the word nice. To save you incurable googlists some time, the following are the definitions of nice from The Free Dictionary:

  1. Pleasing and agreeable in nature: had a nice time.
  2. Having a pleasant or attractive appearance: a nice dress; a nice face.
  3. Exhibiting courtesy and politeness: a nice gesture.
  4. Of good character and reputation; respectable.
  5. Overdelicate or fastidious; fussy.
  6. Showing or requiring great precision or sensitive discernment; subtle: a nice distinction; a nice sense of style.
  7. Done with delicacy and skill: a nice bit of craft.
  8. Used as an intensive with and: nice and warm.

I am sure you can think of more usage of the word. She’s a nice girl, for example. That particular phrase easily falls into several categories…let’s see…ah: number 1 (pleasing and agreeable in nature)…number 2 of course (having a pleasant or attractive appearance)…number 3 (exhibiting courtesy and politeness)…definitely number 4 (of good character and reputation; respectable)…I don’t know about number 5 (overdelicate or fastidious; fussy), but numbers 6 (showing or requiring great precision or sensitive discernment; subtle) and 7 (done with delicacy and skill) would also be nice to have…all in all leading to number 8 – nice and warm. Now that would definitely be a very nice girl.

But what intrigued me most about the word nice is its Indo-European root, skei (to cut, split), which also means in the Latin scire, “to know (< “to separate one thing from another,” “discern”): science, scire facias (to cause to be known), conscience, conscious”. Hmmm…this seems familiar…ah, I think it’s somehow related to item number 5 – fastidious and fussy, with a great attention to the smallest detail, and somewhat enjoys splitting hairs.

I don’t know about you, but that seems nice to me. To be able to cut through the BS and split the thick skull of pervading assumptions. To know. To discern one thing from another no matter how similar they appear, and perhaps even to relate and connect two very different things…I think that would be very nice indeed.

And since I am hoping that you will find this piece nice, I am ending it by wishing you a nice one. 🙂

3 Responses to “Something Nice”

  1. 1 mymyandong
    July 23, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    define these things for me my friend:

    1. a nice girl

    2. a good girl

    tell me ur thoughts.

  2. 2 jong atmosfera
    July 23, 2009 at 10:35 pm

    Hahaha! I think I just defined “nice girl” by relating it to the different meanings of the word “nice”. Now for “good girl”, maybe I need to write another piece just for that. 🙂

  3. July 25, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    Words do really have a lot of meanings/definitions. Just like the word “black”. That word could mean a race or color or other definition. One must really use a big dictionary (and not the pocket dictionary) to get the accurate meanings and more def. of the words.

    Speaking of words and definitions. I guess we have our own definitions of word/s. We are the ones who define it. For one person, nice could not be nice. Or black could not be black. Or one could define nice as not so nice. Each person has its endless and different perception on a thing/s.

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Attempts at uncovering the underlying simplicity beneath apparently complex concepts as well as the core complexity within seemingly straightforward issues


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