Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A recess in a wall, as for holding a statue or urn.
  • n. A cranny, hollow, or crevice, as in rock.
  • n. A situation or activity specially suited to a person's interests, abilities, or nature: found her niche in life.
  • n. A special area of demand for a product or service: "One niche that is approaching mass-market proportions is held by regional magazines” ( Brad Edmondson).
  • n. Ecology The function or position of an organism or population within an ecological community.
  • n. Ecology The particular area within a habitat occupied by an organism.
  • transitive v. To place in a niche.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A cavity, hollow, or recess, generally within the thickness of a wall, for a statue, bust, or other erect ornament. Hence, any similar position, literal or figurative.
  • n. A function within an ecological system to which an organism is especially suited.
  • n. Any position of opportunity for which one is well-suited, such as a particular market in business.
  • n. An arrow woven into a Muslim prayer rug pointing in the direction of Mecca.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A cavity, hollow, or recess, generally within the thickness of a wall, for a statue, bust, or other erect ornament. Hence, any similar position, literal or figurative.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A nook or recess; specifically, a recess in a wall for the reception of a statue, a vase, or other ornament.
  • n. Hence Figuratively, a position or condition in which a person or thing is placed; one's assigned or appropriate place.
  • To furnish with a niche or with niches.
  • To place in a niche, literally or figuratively.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. (ecology) the status of an organism within its environment and community (affecting its survival as a species)
  • n. a position particularly well suited to the person who occupies it
  • n. a small concavity
  • n. an enclosure that is set back or indented

Etymologies

French, from Old French, from nichier, to nest (from Vulgar Latin *nīdicāre, from Latin nīdus, nest) or from Old Italian nicchio, seashell (perhaps from Latin mītulus, mussel).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French niche, from nichier ("make a nest") (modern French nicher), from Latin nīdus ("nest"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The word niche is useful in a marketing context, but not so much in the context of a blog.

    Shattering the Myth of Blog Niches: How to Grow a Huge Readership | Write to Done

  • "I'm going to sit down and talk with the offense, defense, special teams, and let them know what I think my niche is and where I should be spending my time," Haywood said.

    Miami (Ohio) - Team Notes

  • "This is what we call niche brand building," said the handsome Mr. Lannung, who was dressed in a suit by Buckler, a company that sponsored his evening out.

    Social Networks for Models

  • Your niche is the oldest, grumpiest, grognardiest part of the gamer community!

    Pyramid Goes Monthly « Geek Related

  • Across from this niche is a wall which hold a little spice rack, and that is the sum total of my kitchen (fridge, toaster oven and microwave are scattered in the living room).

    Archive 2006-07-01

  • The concept of a niche is a way to make sense of these changes.

    A New Way to Be Mad

  • He said the SCORE facility and other jails are marketing space designed for misdemeanor offenders, opening up what he called a niche market for higher-level offenders.

    The Seattle Times

  • "While Pontiac was going to be a reduced division, down to what they call a niche brand, it obviously will no longer be after 2010," Bentley said.

    Sand Mountain Reporter: News

  • Set in Northern Ontario along the Valley East Basin Area where lakes dot the landscape i would want to see how these units fare in minus 40 weather, I would also like to see how far the extras do go for i would seriously consider this prefab elite based upon affordability quality and common sense and i wonder when the common sense of this prefab dream catches on to the overinflated geared to the very small minority of wealthy clientele who cannot make up their minds with the immense selectivity when there are these units where the niche is the largerst and choices are small?

    Rocio Romero Prefab Home Tour Kicks Off Tomorrow in NY! | Inhabitat

  • I know some manga-ka (like Natsume Ono) started out publishing their comics on the web, but I have no idea how big the webcomic niche is in Japan.

    Role-playing exercise

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • 'Niche market', however, doesn't show what part of speech it is. It is natural to suppose 'niche' is a noun in that phrase (as in 'stock market', 'bear market'). It is the ability to be modified by adverbs that shows it has (for some people) become a noun.

    November 14, 2011

  • As an adjective, they talk of a 'niche market for ...'

    November 13, 2011

  • Not literally "build a nest", which it's never meant in English, but that seems to be the origin in French: a verb "nest", from an unattested Latin *nid-ic-. The earliest meaning of the noun in both French and English was its current one, "recess (for a statue)", derived in French from the verb. (The noun is from the verb because the -ch- reflects the verbalizing suffix -ic-.)

    Both modern pronunciations of the vowel seem to have been present in the earliest use in English: 1600s spellings include neece, niece, niech, neech, nice as well as nitch, nich. By the 1800s only the nɪtʃ nitch one seems to have survived, with French-like niːʃ rearising in the 20th century, and now predominating in BrE.

    This word is an example of a noun that has converted to an adjective (they're surprisingly rare), at least for many speakers: you can hear and see 'It's very niche' or 'rather niche', referring to something in a niche market. The ability to be modified by degree adverbials is a clear sign of adjective status.

    February 26, 2009

  • literally to build a nest?

    February 1, 2007