Nice, it turns out, began as a negative term derived from the Latin nescius meaning “ignorant.” This sense of ignorant was carried over into English, and for almost a century, nice was used to refer to a stupid, ignorant, or foolish person. Starting in the late 1300s, nice began to refer to conduct, people, or clothing that were considered excessively luxurious or lascivious, however, by the year 1400 a new, more neutral sense of nice emerged. At this time, nice could be used to refer to a person who was finely dressed, someone who was shy or reserved, or something that was precise. By the late 1500s, nice was used to describe refined, polite society.
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