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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