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niche

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noun \ˈnich also ˈnēsh or ˈnish\

Definition of niche

  1. 1 a :  a recess in a wall especially for a statue b :  something (as a sheltered or private space) that resembles a recess in a wall

  2. 2 a :  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

Examples of niche in a sentence

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. I found a niche for myself after high school.

  7. She finally found her niche as a teacher.

  8. the species that fill an environmental niche

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.

Illustration of niche

Origin and Etymology of niche

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


First Known Use: 1611


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niche

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verb \ˈnich also ˈnēsh or ˈnish\

Definition of niche

niched

niching

  1. transitive verb
  2. :  to place in or as if in a niche (see 1niche)

Examples of niche in a sentence

  1. 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

Origin and Etymology of niche

(see 1niche)


First Known Use: 1752



NICHE Defined for English Language Learners

1

niche

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noun \ˈnich also ˈnēsh or ˈnish\

Definition of niche for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

niche

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noun \ˈnich\

Definition of niche for Students

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

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


Medical Dictionary

niche

play play
noun \ˈnich sometimes ˈnish or ˈnēsh\

Medical Definition of niche

  1. :  crater <typical niche formation resulting from an ulcer>



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