9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[nahy-si-tee] /ˈnaɪ sɪ ti/
noun, plural niceties.
a delicate or fine point; punctilio:
niceties of protocol.
a fine distinction; subtlety; detail:
the niceties of the filigree work.
Usually, niceties. a refined, elegant, or choice feature, as of manner or living:
working hard to acquire the niceties of life.
exactness or precision.
the quality of being nice; niceness.
delicacy of character, as of something requiring care or tact:
a matter of considerable nicety.
Origin of nicety
1275-1325; Middle English: silliness, extravagance, cleverness < Old French niceté. See nice, -ty
Related forms
overnicety, noun, plural overniceties.
Can be confused
nice, niceness, nicety. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for niceties
  • For academe though, such niceties do not seem commonplace.
  • Other than the expected niceties, the phone has little going on inside.
  • Daley has never shown much interest in the niceties of checks and balances.
  • He's conscientious about such authorial niceties as setting the scene and attributing dialogue.
  • In those days, live broadcasts had more spontaneity, and less attention was paid to the niceties of image.
  • Banned from debating the factual niceties, the jury instead gave a thumbs-up or thumbs-down to the courtroom performances.
  • Conglomerate operations dull the feeling for such niceties.
  • Practice old-fashioned niceties during your business trip.
  • Never mind the niceties of string theory and its implications for physics.
  • But investors are likely to be relaxed about such intellectual niceties if the technique provides attractive returns.
British Dictionary definitions for niceties


noun (pl) -ties
a subtle point of delicacy or distinction: a nicety of etiquette
(usually pl) a refinement or delicacy: the niceties of first-class travel
subtlety, delicacy, or precision
excessive refinement; fastidiousness
to a nicety, with precision
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for niceties



mid-14c., "folly, stupidity," from Old French niceté "foolishness, childishness, simplicity," from nice "silly" (see nice). Underwent sense evolution parallel to nice, arriving at "minute, subtle point" 1580s and "exactitude" in 1650s. Phrase to a nicety "exactly" is attested from 1795.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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