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.



4 Answers 4


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.

  • 4
    Haha, I like that last line.
    – Kosmonaut
    Aug 20, 2010 at 1:58
  • 10
    neither "iche" or "ique" are English word endings, so if you really like your English English, use different words.
    – danio
    Feb 20, 2018 at 13:52
  • 2
    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. Jun 11, 2019 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, 2020 at 16:12
  • 1
    @Greybeard - I do. Feb 24, 2020 at 19:13

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).

  • 1
    Meanwhile, the word envelop I've never heard pronounced the "French" way.
    – Joe Z.
    Aug 21, 2014 at 3:45
  • Meanwhile, I didn't know there was any other pronunciation than "on-velope". I've never heard "enn-velope"!
    – CSJ
    May 10, 2022 at 13:05
  • I've heard both en-velope and on-velope since I was a little kid. Dec 23, 2022 at 6:41

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.

  • 1
    Speaking as a Brit, I had never in my life heard "nitch" until a few minutes ago, and it was spoken by an American (prompting my search and finding this question). "Neesh" is not just "used more" in the UK - it is the one and only pronunciation here.
    – Philip C
    Jun 1, 2021 at 7:41

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!

  • 2
    Saving this for the “quiche, not kitch” when this comes up in conversation!
    – sleighty
    May 9, 2022 at 7:23
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    @sleighty Just try not to be a biche about it. Dec 23, 2022 at 6:42
  • I usually keep my judgment strictly to myself :P
    – sleighty
    Jan 4 at 20:02

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