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

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Synonyms for niche

Synonyms: Noun

alcove, nook, recess

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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

Now, at age 59, Neeleman is embarking on what might be his riskiest venture yet: to build a new U.S. airline that will carve out a niche serving travelers and communities that lost out in the wave of airline consolidation. Barbara Peterson, Condé Nast Traveler, "JetBlue Founder David Neeleman on How New Airline Moxy Will Change the Way We Fly," 12 Dec. 2018 The tournament was an overwhelming success, despite concerns over playing it in a nation where soccer was considered a niche sport. Jim Reineking, USA TODAY, "Every FIFA World Cup champion: From 1930 Uruguay to 2014 Germany," 25 May 2018 Soccer might always be a niche sport that doesn’t attract the best athletes in this nation, but don’t let any coach or organizer convince you that U.S. soccer has not priced out too many talented kids. Mac Engel, star-telegram, "Mexico in 2018 World Cup without USA is soccer indictment | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 12 Feb. 2018 From then on, the rotary was reserved mostly for niche lightweight sports cars and luxury grand tourers, until Mazda disappointed Wankel lovers everywhere by stopping production after 2012. Matthew Jancer, Popular Mechanics, "The Rhombus Rotary Engine: Can a Quirky New Design Top the Famous Wankel?," 18 Jan. 2019 Traditionally scale has been equated with success, but many designers are now opting to stay niche. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "Danish Jeweler Jo Riis-Hansen Is Taking a Slow, Artisanal Approach to Her Latest Project," 28 Dec. 2018 Echo Look The Echo Look is arguably Amazon's most niche Echo device. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "Guidemaster: Want an Alexa device? Here’s every Amazon Echo, compared," 22 Nov. 2018 The company got into direct marketing with its January 2014 purchase from W.W. Grainger Inc. of three brands providing equipment and supplies to niche professional markets. Rick Romell, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "More than 200 jobs to be lost as Madison, Janesville businesses close," 20 June 2018 Eastdil is a niche firm that focuses on the business of selling buildings. Craig Karmin, WSJ, "Real-Estate Broker Eastdil Hires Allianz Executive for N.Y. Sales," 10 Dec. 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.

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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 and Verb

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

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Statistics for niche

Last Updated

8 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for niche

The first known use of niche was in 1610

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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
technical : 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on niche

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with niche

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for niche

Spanish Central: Translation of niche

Nglish: Translation of niche for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of niche for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about niche

Comments on niche

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