A niche is a space that's all your own, from a literal corner or enclosure to some kind of professional specialty. Like finding a niche in the scented soaps market with peanut butter body wash and winning over a loyal, if not nutty, following.

In the 1600s, niche was first recorded as meaning a “shallow recess in a wall." The figurative sense of the word didn’t come about for another century. So today, you can use niche literally to refer to a cranny or crevice, or figuratively to talk about an activity or role in life that is particularly suited a person’s interests or talents. Synonyms range from alcove and compartment to nook and opening.

Definitions of niche

n a small concavity

corner, recess, recession
pharyngeal recess
a small recess in the wall of the pharynx
Type of:
concave shape, concavity, incurvation, incurvature
a shape that curves or bends inward

n an enclosure that is set back or indented

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alcove, bay
a small recess opening off a larger room
apse, apsis
a domed or vaulted recess or projection on a building especially the east end of a church; usually contains the altar
cinerarium, columbarium
a niche for a funeral urn containing the ashes of the cremated dead
fireplace, hearth, open fireplace
an open recess in a wall at the base of a chimney where a fire can be built
(Islam) a niche in the wall of a mosque that indicates the direction of Mecca
carrel, carrell, cubicle, stall
small individual study area in a library
a fireplace in which a relatively small fire is burning
the apse of a Christian church that contains the bishop's throne
Type of:
a structure consisting of an area that has been enclosed for some purpose

n a position particularly well suited to the person who occupies it

“he found his niche in the academic world”
Type of:
place, station
proper or designated social situation

n (ecology) the status of an organism within its environment and community (affecting its survival as a species)

ecological niche
Type of:
condition, status
a state at a particular time

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