The vague nature of a word

The English language has so many descriptive words that describe a person, event or feeling. This blog post will concentrate on how you describe a person and how different words mean many things.

I always find there are many ways to describe someone whether it be on the physical appearance like beautiful or handsome. To their personality with descriptive words like funny, rude and kind. As we all know there are many more.

However the one word that I feel we overuse and can be vague is the word NICE! For example how someone is a nice person.

The definition for nice is as follows as an adjective: “giving pleasure or satisfaction; pleasant or attractive”. The origins of the word nice are as follows: “Middle English (in the sense ‘stupid’): from Old French, from Latin nescius ignorant, from nescire not know. Other early senses included ‘coy, reserved’, giving rise to ‘fastidious, scrupulous’: this led both to the sense ‘fine, subtle’ (regarded by some as the ‘correct’ sense), and to the main current senses.” Sourced from Oxford Dictionaries Online:

So after reading that definition, the question is what is a nice person?

Many could say a nice person is someone who is amicable, friendly, kind and caring. So why don’t they say that instead? Reasonable to ask is it not? Or is that nice is seen as a general term for all these things. But the person commenting on say their friend is lazy in description or is just being nice? See the problem I am examining, nice is vague as it could mean one thing in what I have already mentioned but there could be another reason.

The answer to simply be polite. Horrible when you put in that context that the only reason you would describe someone as nice is just to be polite when maybe asked for an opinion. In that case you might as well talk about the nice weather.

Personally it is something I have been described of in the past and recently. For me I want more depth then one small word which sounds okay but has many different connotations in different circumstances. I would be worried if someone who I had known as a friend came up with the word nice, I might feel a little disappointed. As then I would feel do they really know me? Then again you might feel satisfied with that response.

In another circumstance of meeting an acquaintance and it was the first time you met them and you said they seemed nice. This situation derives back to the definition of a pleasant person. This seems acceptable to say the word nice.

In conclusion the word nice is vague nowadays, but like all words there is a way to use them and timing. Saying a nice person of an acquaintance is okay to do. But someone you call a friend maybe think again of what nice means to you and how it applies and instead say that word instead.


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