How did such a nice word that we use to mean sweet and polite, also come to be an insult for some? Well, today’s word, nice, started out as a pretty mean word, actually.
Depending on your circle of influence, you might want someone to call you nice, because it’s a compliment. Like, you know those 16 year old girls who attend Purity Balls with their dads where they commit to remaining a virgin until marriage?
But if you’re a satanist, or even an artist, you might be outraged if someone uses it to refer to you or your work.
And really, Nice was a real downer in Old English. To be called nice wasn’t nice.
Because Nice is one of the most poly-semus words I’ve come across – and that’s just a fancy way of saying a word that has multiple meanings.
So from drug smugglers, nun’s hens, the first English dictionary with a ridiculously long title and Sex and the City, let’s have a look at the rather complicated history of a tiny word.
Do Nice Guys Finish Last? https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/meet-catch-and-keep/201405/do-nice-guys-really-finish-last
UnCommon Ground Magazine What Was Happening Before ‘Just Be Nice Feminism’? https://uncommongroundmedia.com/just-be-nice-feminism-part-i/
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Produced by Jo Vraca. You can find my books on Amazon
Sound engineering and original music by Jeff Willis. You can find his tunes on Spotify and iTunes
Additional music thanks to https://uppbeat.io