1. an ornamental recess in a wall or the like, usually semicircular in plan and arched, as for a statue or other decorative object.
  2. a place or position suitable or appropriate for a person or thing: to find one's niche in the business world.
  3. a distinct segment of a market.
  4. Ecology. the position or function of an organism in a community of plants and animals.
  1. pertaining to or intended for a market niche; having specific appeal: niche advertising.
verb (used with object), niched, nich·ing.
  1. to place (something) in a niche.

Origin of niche

1605–15; < French, Middle French, back formation from nicher to make a nest < Vulgar Latin *nīdiculāre, derivative of Latin nīdus nest
Related formsun·niched, adjective

Synonyms for niche Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for niching


  1. a recess in a wall, esp one that contains a statue
  2. any similar recess, such as one in a rock face
  3. a position particularly suitable for the person occupying ithe found his niche in politics
  4. (modifier) relating to or aimed at a small specialized group or market
  5. ecology the role of a plant or animal within its community and habitat, which determines its activities, relationships with other organisms, etc
  1. (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

Word Origin and History for niching



1610s, "shallow recess in a wall," from French niche "recess (for a dog), kennel" (14c.), perhaps from Italian nicchia "niche, nook," from nicchio "seashell," said by Klein and Barnhart to be probably from Latin mitulus "mussel," but the change of -m- to -n- is not explained. Watkins suggests that the word is from an Old French noun derived from nichier "to nestle, nest, build a nest," via Gallo-Romance *nidicare from Latin nidus "nest;" but that has difficulties, too. Figurative sense is first recorded 1725. Biological use dates from 1927.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

niching in Medicine


[nĭch, nēsh]
  1. An eroded or ulcerated area detected by contrast radiography.
  2. The function or position of an organism or population within an ecological community.
  3. 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.

niching in Science


[nĭch, nēsh]
  1. 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.