niche

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
  1. noun
    a small concavity
    synonyms: corner, recess, recession
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    types:
    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
  2. noun
    an enclosure that is set back or indented
    synonyms: recess
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    types:
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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
    mihrab
    (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
    fire
    a fireplace in which a relatively small fire is burning
    tribune
    the apse of a Christian church that contains the bishop's throne
    type of:
    enclosure
    a structure consisting of an area that has been enclosed for some purpose
  3. noun
    a position particularly well suited to the person who occupies it
    “he found his niche in the academic world”
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    type of:
    place, station
    proper or designated social situation
  4. noun
    (ecology) the status of an organism within its environment and community (affecting its survival as a species)
    synonyms: ecological niche
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    type of:
    condition, status
    a state at a particular time
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