Hermoine teaches Ron how to pronounce niche.

Niche is a difficult word. It’s clearly not of English origin and reading it doesn’t make it evident how it should be pronounced either.

There is an ongoing debate about the pronunciation of the word, ‘NEESH’ vs. ‘NICH’. According to Merriam-Webster, niche had been only pronounced as ‘NICH’ in English dictionaries all the way until the 20th Century. That’s when the English language took a dark turn and started offering the variant ‘NEESH’, beginning in Daniel Jones’s English Pronouncing Dictionary in 1917.

The real authority on the English language, Webster, held steady and didn’t list the pronunciation at all until 1961.

“It wasn’t entered into our smaller Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary until 1993. Even then, it was marked in the Collegiate as a pronunciation that was in educated use but considered acceptable until 2003,” Webster said on its website.

While neither is technically wrong, ‘NICH’ is the long-established way of saying the word. You won’t offend anyone saying ‘NEESH’, however, you will be one of those new-age kids choosing the new, hip, modern, way of saying the word.

Nowadays, the pronunciation is separated by a regional divide, the Brits going with the revolutionary ‘NEESH’ and the Americans sticking true with the original ‘NICH’.

If you want to be one of those outlandish people, go ahead, call it ‘NEESH’, it’s not a crime – you’re just following the new crowd to be on-trend.

While we’re here, we may as well confirm how to pronounce Nietzsche – it’s simply ‘NEE-CHA’.