11 Trending Words of 2014


[nich] /nɪtʃ/
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. the position or function of an organism in a community of plants and animals.
pertaining to or intended for a market niche; having specific appeal:
niche advertising.
verb (used with object), niched, niching.
to place (something) in a niche.
1605-15; < French, Middle French, back formation from nicher to make a nest < Vulgar Latin *nīdiculāre, derivative of Latin nīdus nest
Related forms
unniched, adjective
2. calling, vocation, slot, berth. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for niches
  • 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.
  • In the middle ranges of the high-rise, more niches appear in the canyon walls.
  • Small statues stand in niches backlit with brilliant aqua.
  • There are thousands of different kinds of businesses, products, and niches out there.
  • Maybe important niches, but to really make radical changes in the energy businesses, a reasonable efficiency is required.
  • Once there, they reacted with other molecules comfortably ensconced in niches next door.
  • As species adapt to new ecological niches, they become mosaics of primitive and advanced traits.
British Dictionary definitions for niches


/nɪtʃ; niːʃ/
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 it: he 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
(transitive) to place (a statue) in a niche; ensconce (oneself)
Word Origin
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 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for niches



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
Cite This Source
niches in Medicine

niche (nĭch, nēsh)

  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.
Cite This Source
niches in Science
  (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 © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for niche

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for niches

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with niches

Nearby words for niches