What word does your mother always say?


[nees] /nis/
a daughter of a person's brother or sister.
a daughter of a person's spouse's brother or sister.
Origin of niece
1250-1300; Middle English nece < Old French < Vulgar Latin *neptia, for Latin neptis granddaughter; replacing Middle English nifte, Old English nift niece (cognate with Old Frisian, Old High German nift, Dutch nicht, Old Norse nipt) < Germanic; akin to Lithuanian neptė̃, Sanskrit naptī; cf. nephew Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for niece
  • My niece in Minnesota called the other day to tell us she was engaged.
  • My niece has a son who has been diagnosed as autistic.
  • My niece has certainly not spent more than five minutes a day outside for years.
  • Not even a skeptical niece or nephew can doubt their zany stories.
  • Once the patient was stable, the doctors questioned his niece.
  • It came just at the right time to become the birthday gift for my niece.
  • Darcy took her place by her niece, and they walked on together.
  • Last week, my niece took her almost-3-year-old son to visit Santa.
British Dictionary definitions for niece


a daughter of one's sister or brother
Word Origin
C13: from Old French niece granddaughter, ultimately from Latin neptis granddaughter
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 niece

c.1300, from Old French niece "niece, granddaughter" (12c., Modern French nièce), earlier niepce, from Latin neptia (also source of Portuguese neta, Spanish nieta), from neptis "granddaughter," in Late Latin "niece," fem. of nepos "grandson, nephew" (see nephew). Replaced Old English nift, from Proto-Germanic *neftiz, from the same PIE root (Old English also used broðordohter and nefene).

Until c.1600, it also commonly meant "a granddaughter" or any remote female descendant. Cf. cognate Spanish nieta, Old Lithuanian nepte, Sanskrit naptih "granddaughter;" Czech net, Old Irish necht, Welsh nith, German Nichte "niece."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for niece

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for niece

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with niece

Nearby words for niece