Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A recess in a wall, as for holding a statue or urn.
  • noun A cranny, hollow, or crevice, as in rock.
  • noun A situation or activity specially suited to a person's interests, abilities, or nature.
  • noun A special area of demand for a product or service.
  • noun The function or position of an organism or population within an ecological community.
  • noun The range of environmental conditions within which the members of a given species can survive and reproduce.
  • transitive verb To place in a niche.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A nook or recess; specifically, a recess in a wall for the reception of a statue, a vase, or other ornament.
  • noun 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 the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun 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 Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun architecture 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.
  • noun biology A function within an ecological system to which an organism is especially suited.
  • noun by extension Any position of opportunity for which one is well-suited, such as a particular market in business.
  • noun An arrow woven into a Muslim prayer rug pointing in the direction of Mecca.

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

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

Etymologies

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

[French, from Old French, from nichier, to nest (from Vulgar Latin *nīdicāre, from Latin nīdus, nest; see sed- in Indo-European roots) or from Old Italian nicchio, seashell (perhaps from Latin mītulus, mussel).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French niche, from nichier ("make a nest") (modern French nicher), from Latin nīdus ("nest").

Examples

  • "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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • "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

Comments

New comments are temporarily disabled while we update our database.

  • literally to build a nest?

    February 1, 2007

  • 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

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

    November 13, 2011

  • '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