What is the correct way to pronounce niche? I've always said and heard nitch, but now I hear neesh, but it always sounds trendy to me.



Either way is correct. "Neesh" is the French pronunciation and has always been used by some English speakers.

My preference is for "nitch" but then I pronounce clique as "click" -- I like my English English and my French French.

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    Haha, I like that last line. – Kosmonaut Aug 20 '10 at 1:58
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    neither "iche" or "ique" are English word endings, so if you really like your English English, use different words. – danio Feb 20 '18 at 13:52
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    I find it interesting that it's Americans who tend to say nitch (as confirmed by Collins Dictionary, which explicitly says Nitch = US, Neesh = UK). For many other words that come to mind (filet and herbs in culinary contexts, for example) Americans stick with the French pronunciation where Brits go for the Anglicised version. – FumbleFingers Jun 11 '19 at 17:23
  • You need to respell it to nitch if that's how you pronounce it. And good luck with cleek. :) – tchrist Feb 24 '20 at 16:12
  • Do Americans still pronounce it "nitch" when it acts as an adjective? "He operates in a niche market." – Greybeard Feb 24 '20 at 17:25

Since niche is a word that is directly borrowed from French, some people choose to pronounce the word using the original French pronunciation. Merriam-Webster lists both pronunciations (as well as the halfway-between pronunciation of "nish" [nɪʃ]), so both are technically valid.

Phonologically speaking, there is nothing in the pronunciation "neesh" [niʃ] that is actually foreign to English, so to me it doesn't really sound off-putting. A similar example would be envelope, which many people pronounce "onvelope", a nod to the French pronunciation (though not fully faithful anyway).

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    Meanwhile, the word envelop I've never heard pronounced the "French" way. – Joe Z. Aug 21 '14 at 3:45

As far as I know the "nitch" pronunciation is more common in the US, whereas the "neesh" pronunciation is used more in the UK. Seems to be a tomayto-tomahto thing.


I grew up with Canadian French, so now when I hear nitch, it offends my sensitive earballs. For example, I would also never pronounce quiche as kitch!

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