\ 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


\ 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


niche 1a

In the meaning defined above

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Synonyms for niche

Synonyms: Noun

groove, place, slot

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


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


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


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

The company sought out a niche market of farmers, horse owners, ranchers, part-time and hobby farmers and suburban and rural homeowners, as well as contractors and tradesmen, the website says. Detroit Free Press, "Owner wants to demolish 1800s Northville building, city refuses," 22 June 2018 The release hyped Elizondo and Mellon's involvement in the company, lending a dash of national-security authority to a niche-market entertainment product. Dan Zak,, "UFOs are suddenly a serious news story - you can thank the guy from Blink-182 for that," 30 May 2018 With the business a bit of a niche market, there can be some slow times. Erin Sauder, Elgin Courier-News, "Down to Business: Living the dream by sharing records," 25 May 2018 Pursuing this niche market increasingly is a defining feature of the conservative media. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "The Scourge of Trumpism in Conservative Journalism," 14 May 2018 Score one for the sadists at WildClaw Theatre, who with this spooker by Paul Foster mark ten years of lavishing gothic thrills on a niche market that presumably loves them rabidly. Max Maller, Chicago Reader, "Too many explanations spoil all the surprises in Future Echoes," 4 May 2018 What started as modest niche entertainment market in the 1930s has been reborn over the last few decades into a major box office juggernaut. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, "This is the superhero of your garden. But, it's not what you'd expect," 20 Apr. 2018 Advertisers and cities alike are looking to further engage with the esports community as the niche market is quickly becoming an economic boon. Ileana Najarro, Houston Chronicle, "Esports stadium to open in Arlington," 20 Mar. 2018 From the start, his business, Dibsies Personalization Station (, focused on the niche market of personalized gifts for babies and young children. Sheila Vilvens,, "Fairfield High School grads find success in e-commerce with personalized gifts for kids, pets," 20 Mar. 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


1610, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1753, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for niche


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


see niche entry 1

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Learn More about niche

Phrases Related to niche

fill a niche

Statistics for niche

Last Updated

20 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for niche

The first known use of niche was in 1610

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More Definitions for niche



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


\ 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.


\ ˈnich sometimes ˈnish or ˈnēsh \

Medical Definition of niche 

: crater typical niche formation resulting from an ulcer

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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).


characteristic trappings or dress

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