Are the Germans nice

Etymological dictionary of German

Etymological dictionary (Wolfgang Pfeifer)

nice adj. ‘friendly, lovable, pretty’. Afrz. (Fr. . in the commercial language of Flanders and used in the sense of ‘pure, remaining after the necessary deductions (of money and weight)’. From there the expression reaches the Westmd. (altköln.net, middle of the 15th century) and into the Nd. (mnd.net ‘exactly, completely, completely’ when specifying sums of money, nd.net ‘relating to the pure goods without packaging’, 18th century), but cannot prevail against ↗ net (see d.). In the 2nd half of the 15th century becomes net (t) on the Lower Rhine, then also in the Hd. (early 16th century) with the meaning 'cleanly shiny' (first of metal), later also (17th century) of the shape and nature of man 'pretty to look at 'lovable, lovely' is the norm. Niceness f. (17th century).

Citation aid
“Nice”, in: Wolfgang Pfeifer et al., Etymologisches Handbuch des Deutschen (1993), digitized and revised by Wolfgang Pfeifer version in the digital dictionary of the German language, , accessed on May 19, 2021.

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