niche

noun
\ ˈnich How to pronounce niche (audio) also ˈnēsh or ˈnish How to pronounce niche (audio) \

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 How to pronounce niche (audio) \
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

Weezer recently carved out a niche for itself covering pre-90s classics, and their Teal Album is ALL faithful covers. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Workout Songs to Make 2019 Your Most Athletic Year Yet," 5 Feb. 2019 Bella and Apollo are haplessly naive to the fact that Parx has carved a successful niche for herself as a genre-hopping songwriter, bouncing from one high profile project to another. Rob Ledonne, Billboard, "Tayla Parx Talks Writing Songs With Janelle Monae & Christina Aguilera After Moving on From Acting," 23 May 2018 All of those—and more—are part of the annual Winter X Games, known as one of the premier elite events in winter action sports that combines both traditional sports and more niche, extreme events. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "The 2019 Winter X Games Starts This Week—Here’s What You Need to Know," 23 Jan. 2019 But Gonzales has created a shoe that is both universal and niche—and above all unassumingly stylish. Tyler Watamanuk, GQ, "These Converse Sneakers Get the Inside-Out Treatment," 13 June 2018 Some, like Helly Hansen, are household names, while others have niche cult followings: Klättermusen is apparently huge in Asia, but most were unfamiliar, at least to this American viewer, and that was a good thing. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "Scandinavian Man Stages a Non-Fashion Fashion Show in Stockholm," 6 Feb. 2019 Gaming laptops, and especially these, fill a very specific and expensive niche. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "Bring on the Wacky Convertible Gaming Laptops," 7 Jan. 2019 Once known as a dancer and actress in Step Up and the stylish plus-one to Channing Tatum (which would already be impressive, btw), Jenna Dewan has now carved a style and lifestyle niche for herself. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Jenna Dewan Is Giving Us Her Best Lifestyle Tips In New Book 'Gracefully You'," 6 Feb. 2019 This niche electronic-music genre, inspired by the sounds of 1980s pop, movies and videogames, is having a moment, with some of its biggest names moving toward the pop-music mainstream. Neil Shah, WSJ, "Synthwave, the Sound of an ’80s Childhood, Goes Mainstream," 26 Jan. 2019

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

5 Apr 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 How to pronounce niche (audio) \

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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