niche

noun
\ ˈnich also ˈnēsh or ˈnish \

Definition of niche 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a recess in a wall especially for a statue

b : something (such as a sheltered or private space) that resembles a recess in a wall

2a : a place, employment, status, or activity for which a person or thing is best fitted finally found her niche

b : a habitat supplying the factors necessary for the existence of an organism or species

c : the ecological role of an organism in a community especially in regard to food consumption

d : a specialized market

niche

verb
\ ˈnich also ˈnēsh or ˈnish \
niched; niching

Definition of niche (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to place in or as if in a niche (see niche entry 1)

Illustration of niche

Illustration of niche

Noun

niche 1a

In the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for niche

Synonyms: Noun

groove, place, slot

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

How do you pronounce niche? Is it \NEESH\ or \NICH\?

Noun

There is a debate about how you are supposed to pronounce niche. There are two common pronunciation variants, both of which are currently considered correct: \NEESH\ (rhymes with sheesh) and \NICH\ (rhymes with pitch). \NICH\ is the more common one and the older of the two pronunciations. It is the only pronunciation given for the word in all English dictionaries until the 20th century, when \NEESH\ was first listed as a pronunciation variant in Daniel Jones's English Pronouncing Dictionary (1917). \NEESH\ wasn’t listed as a pronunciation in our dictionaries until our 1961 Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged, and it wasn’t entered into our smaller Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary until 1993. Even then, it was marked in the Collegiate as a pronunciation that was in educated use but not considered acceptable until 2003.

All this is to say that the historical pronunciation has been \NICH\, and that \NEESH\ is a relative newcomer that came about likely under influence from French pronunciation conventions. At this point in time in the U.S., \NICH\ is still the more common pronunciation, but \NEESH\ is gaining ground. Our evidence suggests that in British English, \NEESH\ is now the more common pronunciation.

Examples of niche in a Sentence

Noun

To succeed in this new world, you have to sell yourself. You go to a brand-name college, not to imbibe the wisdom of its professors, but to make impressions and connections. You pick a niche that can bring attention to yourself and then develop your personal public relations efforts to let the world know who you are. —Alan Wolfe, New York Times Book Review, 7 Jan. 2001 The ivory-billed woodpecker, wan ghost of southern woodlands, may actually be flying forth from its niche in extinction. —Frank Graham, Jr., Audubon, May/June 2000 Creatures in the genus Rickettsia occupy a niche between bacteria and viruses. They carry much of their own cellular equipment and are vulnerable to antibiotics, but like viruses they need to invade living cells in order to grow. —Wayne Biddle, A Field Guide to Germs, 1995 No, a safe and humble backbencher's niche in the Senate was the inheritance of a Julius these days. —Colleen McCullough, The First Man in Rome, 1990 A dozen or so fey young monks in saffron robes and shaven heads wafted from quiet niche to niche begging alms and looking very flesh-bound to my jaded eyes. —Arthur Miller, Timebends, 1987 I found a niche for myself after high school. She finally found her niche as a teacher. the species that fill an environmental niche

Verb

The most moving of all the museums in Russia, right now, is also the smallest and the most unlikely. Niched with no fuss whatever in what was a communal apartment high in the annex of the former Sheremetyev Palace in St. Petersburg, it is devoted to a great Russian poet, Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966). —John Russell, New York Times Book Review, 1 Jan. 1995

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

This North Shore summer food festival that is dedicated to charity holds a special niche in the food fest universe, organizers say. Gina Grillo, chicagotribune.com, "Taste of Evanston a culinary showcase of 'best our community has to offer': Mayor," 10 July 2018 But Taco Casa has hung on to a niche in this crowded market. Polly Campbell, Cincinnati.com, "Taco Casa: 50 years of taco salads and tuna boats," 6 Apr. 2018 This air of secrecy has become a hallmark of the Hallwang Clinic, which in recent years has found a niche in selling hope to the seriously ill at astronomical prices. Lindsay Gellman, Longreads, "The Last Resort," 22 Mar. 2018 In years past, corporations arguably carved out much bigger niches in the national parks, though their hotels and other businesses typically did not carry the names of their creators. James Rainey, NBC News, "A Starbucks in Yosemite? A new spin on a national park tradition," 24 Jan. 2018 Normally, yeast hangs out in warm, damp spaces in the body, and surges out of that niche only when its local ecosystem veers out of balance. Maryn Mckenna, WIRED, "The Strange and Curious Case of the Deadly Superbug Yeast," 13 July 2018 The field is dominated by big companies such as Kelly Services, Manpower and Adecco, but experts say that smaller, nimbler firms can carve their own niches. Carolyn Said, San Francisco Chronicle, "Finding blue-collar gig jobs at the tap of an app with Wonolo," 8 June 2018 For now, that niche would include replacement parts or vaccine delivery, but not necessarily your next pizza. Phillip Molnar, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Does it make economic sense to deliver consumer goods by drone?," 18 May 2018 Find your niche within the school, this is the time to explore, because of this, surround yourself with friends that will support and encourage you. Helena Oliviero, ajc, "What it takes: DeKalb valedictorians share secrets to success," 16 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

And many websites cater to niche vacation markets, from hikers to cruisers. Rob Wile, miamiherald, "Even vacations can be hell for autism families. A new website is here to help. | Miami Herald," 3 May 2018 Christian support for the Aliyah largely began with the collapse of the Soviet Union and has grown in recent years as American Jews have redirected charitable donations to niche causes. Washington Post, "Christians emerge as key patrons for Jews moving to Israel," 8 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'niche.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of niche

Noun

1610, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1753, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for niche

Noun

French, from Middle French, from nicher to nest, from Vulgar Latin *nidicare, from Latin nidus nest — more at nest

Verb

see niche entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about niche

Phrases Related to niche

fill a niche

Statistics for niche

Last Updated

6 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for niche

The first known use of niche was in 1610

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for niche

niche

noun

English Language Learners Definition of niche

: a job, activity, etc., that is very suitable for someone

: the situation in which a business's products or services can succeed by being sold to a particular kind or group of people

: an environment that has all the things that a particular plant or animal needs in order to live

niche

noun
\ ˈnich \

Kids Definition of niche

1 : an open hollow space in a wall (as for a statue)

2 : a place, job, or use for which a person or a thing is best fitted She found her niche in teaching.

niche

noun
\ ˈnich sometimes ˈnish or ˈnēsh \

Medical Definition of niche 

: crater typical niche formation resulting from an ulcer

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on niche

What made you want to look up niche? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to make amends

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!