niche

[ nich, neesh ]
/ nɪtʃ, niʃ /

noun

an ornamental recess in a wall or the like, usually semicircular in plan and arched, as for a statue or other decorative object.
a place or position suitable or appropriate for a person or thing: to find one's niche in the business world.
a distinct segment of a market.
Ecology. ecological niche.

adjective

pertaining to or intended for a market niche; having specific appeal: niche advertising.

verb (used with object), niched, nich·ing.

to place (something) in a niche.

QUIZZES

CAN YOU GUESS THESE WORDS FROM AROUND THE US?

American English is not always as it appears to be ... get to know regional words in this quiz!
Question 1 of 10
A bet is synonymous with a wager, but what does it mean in New York?

Origin of niche

1605–15; <French, Middle French, back formation from nicher to make a nest <Vulgar Latin *nīdiculāre, derivative of Latin nīdusnest

OTHER WORDS FROM niche

un·niched, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

BASIC DEFINITION OF NICHE

What does niche mean?

A niche is a place or position that’s particularly appropriate for someone or something, especially due to being very specific and different from others.

Niche often refers to a position or interest that allows someone or something to thrive in a particular environment. It’s especially used in the context of people’s careers to refer to the specific position, occupation, or business that will set them apart from others and allow them to be successful.

When someone tells you to “find your niche,” they mean you should find the very specific activity or position that sets you apart and in which you can find success or fulfillment.

Niche can also refer to a very specific part of the consumer market, as in My startup occupies a niche in the dry cleaning chemicals industry. 

In ecology, niche refers to the position or function that an organism occupies within its environment among other species of plants and animals.

The original, literal sense of niche refers to recess in a wall, especially one for the display of decorative objects, such as statues. Much less commonly, niche can be used as a verb meaning to place something in this kind of niche.

Niche is commonly used as an adjective to describe something that has very specific appeal, as inniche market or niche interests. 

The correct pronunciation of niche can be either nich or neesh.

Example: I started my bakery by selling all kinds of baked goods, but then I found my niche—making superhero-themed cupcakes.

Where does niche come from?

The first records of the word niche in English come from the early 1600s. Niche comes from French and derives from the Middle French verb nicher, meaning “to make a nest.” It ultimately derives from the Latin nīdus, meaning “nest.”

Niche was first used in English to refer to a nook in a wall where you could display a statue or something else—like a little nest for decorative objects. Eventually, it came to be used in a figurative sense to refer to the narrow place or position you can occupy to find success. Niche is perhaps most commonly used as an adjective describing such positions or interests. For example, an ice cream shop that offers niche flavors like jalapeño and lavender occupies a niche market by serving customers with niche tastes.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to niche?

  • unniched (adjective)

What are some words that share a root or word element with niche

 

 

What are some words that often get used in discussing niche?

How is niche used in real life?

As a noun, niche commonly refers to a specific career or business that will set someone apart and allow them to be successful. As an adjective, it’s often used to describe specific interests, businesses, or segments of the consumer market.

 

 

 

Try using niche!

Which of the following words could be described with the adjective niche?

A. market
B. interest
C. topic
D. all of the above

Example sentences from the Web for niche

British Dictionary definitions for niche

niche
/ (nɪtʃ, niːʃ) /

noun

a recess in a wall, esp one that contains a statue
any similar recess, such as one in a rock face
a position particularly suitable for the person occupying ithe found his niche in politics
(modifier) relating to or aimed at a small specialized group or market
ecology the role of a plant or animal within its community and habitat, which determines its activities, relationships with other organisms, etc

verb

(tr) to place (a statue) in a niche; ensconce (oneself)

Word Origin for niche

C17: from French, from Old French nichier to nest, from Vulgar Latin nīdicāre (unattested) to build a nest, from Latin nīdus nest
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

Medical definitions for niche

niche
[ nĭch, nēsh ]

n.

An eroded or ulcerated area detected by contrast radiography.
The function or position of an organism or population within an ecological community.
The particular area within a habitat occupied by an organism.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Scientific definitions for niche

niche
[ nĭch, nēsh ]

The function or position of a species within an ecological community. A species's niche includes the physical environment to which it has become adapted as well as its role as producer and consumer of food resources. See also competitive exclusion principle.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.