niche

[nich]
noun
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.
adjective
5.
pertaining to or intended for a market niche; having specific appeal: niche advertising.
verb (used with object), niched, niching.
6.
to place (something) in a niche.

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

unniched, adjective


2. calling, vocation, slot, berth.
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World English Dictionary
niche (nɪtʃ, niːʃ)
 
n
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 it: he 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
 
vb
6.  (tr) to place (a statue) in a niche; ensconce (oneself)
 
[C17: from French, from Old French nichier to nest, from Vulgar Latin nīdicāre (unattested) to build a nest, from Latin nīdusnest]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

niche
1611, "shallow recess in a wall," from Fr. niche "recess (for a dog), kennel," 14c., perhaps from It. nicchia "niche, nook," from nicchio "seashell," probably from L. mitulus "mussel," but the change of -m- to -n- is not explained. Another suggestion is that the word is from an O.Fr. noun derived from
nichier "to nestle, nest, build a nest," via Gallo-Romance *nidicare from L. nidus "nest;" but that has difficulties, too. Figurative sense is first recorded 1725. Biological use dates from 1927.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

niche (nĭch, nēsh)
n.

  1. An eroded or ulcerated area detected by contrast radiography.

  2. The function or position of an organism or a 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.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
niche   (nĭch, nēsh)  Pronunciation Key 
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 © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
We burrowed down into ever-smaller niches, coming to know more and more about
  less and less.
The skin, they point out, is a large ecosystem that includes a variety of
  ecological niches.
As new species evolve to fit ever changing ecological niches, older species
  fade away.
Shallow seas and the lack of significant marine predators created new niches
  for many reptiles that had developed on land.
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