Must Be Nice

NICE: adj. giving pleasure or joy, good and enjoyable; kind, polite, and friendly


The Oxford English Dictionary offers 42 definitions for nice. The earliest sentence, dating from around 1300, appears in the South English Legendary, a compilation of saints' lives in verse form. It illustrates the definition, "foolish, silly, simple; ignorant." The second entry offers the definition, "displaying foolishness or silliness; absurd, senseless." In an example drawn from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, nys is translated "insane" by Simon Armitage. The definitions developed a wide range over time, including "encouraging lasciviousness," "ostentatious," "elegant," "precise,"...


is a retired secondary teacher of English and philosophy. For forty years he challenged students to dive deep into the classics of the Western canon, to think and write analytically, and to find the cultural constants reflected throughout that literature, art, and thought.

This article originally appeared in Salvo, Issue #61, Summer 2022 Copyright © 2024 Salvo |


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