I recently was listening to a talk where the person mentioned the difference between nice and kind. It struck me because I have known before people who are nice, but bothered me in some way. When I heard the definition of these two words, I could see the difference. This is the difference.
Nice=pleasant, enjoyable, or satisfactory.
Kind=generous, helpful, and caring about other people.
Kind involves action, and I have known people who are nice, but not kind. They never seem to get to the action part.
That's why we sometimes hear people refered to as "nice and kind," though not too frequently nowadays.
sattva's intuition of the difference makes sense to me. However "nice" can be used to mean "Kind or considerate in behaviour; friendly (towards others). Freq. in to be nice (to)" as in:
"nice" has had a wide variety of meanings, here are some from the OED:
Of a person: foolish, silly, simple; ignorant.
Of a person: wanton, dissolute, lascivious.
Fastidious, fussy, difficult to please, esp. with regard to food or cleanliness; of refined or dainty tastes.
Of a topic of conversation, mode of conduct, etc.: in good taste, appropriate, proper. Usu. in negative contexts.
Strange, rare, extraordinary.
Shy, coy, (affectedly) modest; reserved.
Not obvious or readily understood; difficult to decide or settle; demanding close consideration; †intricate
Of a person: pleasant in manner, agreeable, good-natured; attractive.
Kind or considerate in behaviour; friendly (towards others). Freq. in to be nice (to)
Wow, you are right about the wide variety of definitions, goofy. That has always been my understanding of the difference between kind and nice - kind to me, means generous or helpful, while nice can mean that, but a lot more.
Good points and definitions, goofy and Kalleh. I still find though that if you tell me that someone is nice, I will probably think they are pleasant and agreeable. I don't naturally assume they are kind meaning generous or caring. They can be used as synonyms but kind is a little more specific. I looked at several of the online dictionaries and actually liked how Cambridge Dictionary approaches the meaning of these two words.
When I say someone is nice, that might mean friendly and generous, but when I say that someone is kind, that doesn't mean they are necessarily agreeable or friendly, but it does mean that they are "generous, helpful, and caring about other people."
I don't know if I am explaining my own inward interpretation well, but here is a link to the two words. I used the American definitions, but you can change it to see the English definitions.
Your understanding is the same as mine, Sattva. I find "nice" to be much more diverse than "kind" is.
A very interesting distinction, sattva.
Regardless of how dictionaries may distinguish between nice and kind.
I think those of us who have been on the receiving end of these two sentiments can easily distinguish. One ("nice") goes along to get along-- it is passive, & suggests a concern w/appearance. The other ("kind") is an active sentiment, requiring some form of action to declare itself.
Well put! That is exactly what I was trying to convey, but unable to express! Thanks!