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[nees] /nis/
a daughter of a person's brother or sister.
a daughter of a person's spouse's brother or sister.
Origin of niece
1250-1300; Middle English nece < Old French < Vulgar Latin *neptia, for Latin neptis granddaughter; replacing Middle English nifte, Old English nift niece (cognate with Old Frisian, Old High German nift, Dutch nicht, Old Norse nipt) < Germanic; akin to Lithuanian neptė̃, Sanskrit naptī; cf. nephew Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for niece
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Mrs. Van Geist fixed her niece with a sudden look of suspicion.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • I came here, brother, to propose a match for my niece, Angélique.

  • But, niece, it is not making too much fun of him to fall in with his fancies.

  • My dear Mother,—Mr. Vernon returned on Thursday night, bringing his niece with him.

    Lady Susan Jane Austen
  • The gentlemen considered a niece of Mrs. Stanhope as their lawful prize.

British Dictionary definitions for niece


a daughter of one's sister or brother
Word Origin
C13: from Old French niece granddaughter, ultimately from Latin neptis granddaughter
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for niece

c.1300, from Old French niece "niece, granddaughter" (12c., Modern French nièce), earlier niepce, from Latin neptia (also source of Portuguese neta, Spanish nieta), from neptis "granddaughter," in Late Latin "niece," fem. of nepos "grandson, nephew" (see nephew). Replaced Old English nift, from Proto-Germanic *neftiz, from the same PIE root (Old English also used broðordohter and nefene).

Until c.1600, it also commonly meant "a granddaughter" or any remote female descendant. Cf. cognate Spanish nieta, Old Lithuanian nepte, Sanskrit naptih "granddaughter;" Czech net, Old Irish necht, Welsh nith, German Nichte "niece."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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