Last name: Nice

Recorded in several spelling forms including Nice, Nise, and Niche, this is an English medieval surname. Recent research suggests that the origin is from the 14th century word 'nice', and that it developed as a nickname surname, not for somebody that was 'nice' in the modern sense, but the reverse, somebody who was a bit of clown! It is curious how words can in their life time over the centuries change their meaning completely. 'Nice' is one example whilst 'bold' is another. In the medieval times to be called 'bold' would be to suggest that others should be careful in their dealings with you, a meaning which is still followed to some extent in Ireland in the 20th century. With this name there is another possible origin, and that is as a developed form of the pre 7th century Olde English word 'nich', meaning a nook or corner, and hence somebody who lived at such a place. The earliest recording would seem to be that of Simon atte Nych of Somerset in the year 1327, whilst one George Nice was an early settler in the British colony of Barbados. He was recorded as being buried there on May 2nd 1679.

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