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I love the word ‘nifty’! It’s a word I’d like to try to incorporate into my every-day chats just ’cause it’s so sweet and care-free!
You know what’s nifty? This word.
OK, OK, but seriously: a word like nifty is a nifty thing. Toss it in and you get just the right feeling – it’s a nifty little language trick. It doesn’t have any obvious relation to other words, and it doesn’t get used all that often, but it just fits neatly in its niche.
Its niche, for its users, is largely defined by the words it’s most often seen with: according to the Corpus of Contemporary American English, these include little, trick, features, pretty (as in pretty nifty little trick), gadgets, stuff… You notice the tone and usage context of these words: not exactly formal; more endearing, fun, like things you use to charm a person (e.g., yourself) into buying a thing. Its synonyms (thanks, Merriam-Webster) include boffo, choice, crackerjack, groovy, jim-dandy, keen, neat, primo, righteous, swell, top-shelf, and a…
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