Nice vs. Gneiss

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Nice and gneiss are two words that are pronounced in the same manner but are spelled differently and have different meanings, which makes them homophones. We will examine the definitions of the words nice and gneiss, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Nice describes someone or something that is pleasant, satisfactory, enjoyable, good-natured, kind. Nice is an adjective, related words are nicer, nicest, nicely. The word nice has undergone an enormous evolution in meaning. Nice is derived from the Latin word nescius which means not-knowing. In the 1200s the word nice was used to mean stupid or foolish. By 1300 nice was used to mean timid, by 1400 the word nice was used to mean delicate. By the mid-1500s, nice meant careful or precise, and in the mid-1700s the word nice came to mean agreeable. In the mid-1800s, it came to mean thoughtful, pleasant or kind.

Gneiss is a banded, coarse-grained metamorphic rock, usually consisting of quartz, feldspar and mica. Gneiss is primarily used as an ornamental stone in buildings or as gravestones. The word gneiss is derived from the German word gneist, which means spark, describing the distinctive glitter that characterizes gneiss.


Today looks to be another nice day with plenty of sun and hardly any clouds in sight. (The Cape Cod Times)

Last week, Fox News took the cake when they sent out a push notification that said “most men just want a woman who’s nice” – creating a Category Five hurricane of reactions across the internet. (The Toronto Sun)

In comparison, these rock formations along Goa’s border with Karnataka, identified by geologists as the Trondhjemite gneiss, date back to 3.4 billion years, just a billion years after Earth was formed. (The Times of India)

Busa said that the Eagle Rock, an outcropping painted to look like an eagle, which is a landmark along Route 66, is an example of Hebron Gneiss. (The Hartford Courant)

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