late 13c., “foolish, stupid, senseless,” from Old French nice (12c.) “careless, clumsy; weak; poor, needy; simple, stupid, silly, foolish,” from Latin nescius “ignorant, unaware,” literally “not-knowing,” from ne- “not” (see un-) + stem of scire “to know” (see science). “The sense development has been extraordinary, even for an adj.” [Weekley] — from “timid” (pre-1300); to “fussy, fastidious” (late 14c.); to “dainty, delicate” (c. 1400); to “precise, careful” (1500s, preserved in such terms as a nice distinction and nice and early); to “agreeable, delightful” (1769); to “kind, thoughtful” (1830).
In many examples from the 16th and 17th centuries it is difficult to say in what particular sense the writer intended it to be taken. [OED]
By 1926, it was pronounced “too great a favorite with the ladies, who have charmed out of it all its individuality and converted it into a mere diffuser of vague and mild agreeableness.” [Fowler]
“I am sure,” cried Catherine, “I did not mean to say anything wrong; but it is a nice book, and why should I not call it so?”
“Very true,” said Henry, “and this is a very nice day, and we are taking a very nice walk; and you are two very nice young ladies. Oh! It is a very nice word indeed! It does for everything.” [Jane Austen, “Northanger Abbey,” 1803]
“friendly, deliberately doing good to others,” from Old English gecynde “natural, native, innate,” originally “with the feeling of relatives for each other,” from Proto-Germanic *gakundiz “natural, native,” from *kunjam (see kin ), with collective prefix *ga- and abstract suffix *-iz. Sense development from “with natural feelings,” to “well-disposed” (c.1300), “benign, compassionate” (c.1300).
First I would like to thank dictionary.com for the histories on both of the words.
As I look at the word nice it has morphed over the centuries from being very negative to being positive. For example, the word nice today in the common English usage, is used as a negative comment as much as a positive comment. So, is nice morphing back to a negative in today’s society? Nice! What is really being said when we say something is nice? The ambiguity of the word nice and its hidden unsure meanings make it impossible to discern the intended message clearly in written form.