knick·​knack ˈnik-ˌnak How to pronounce knickknack (audio)
variants or less commonly nicknack
plural knickknacks also nicknacks
: a small trivial article usually intended for ornament
a collection of colorful knickknacks
Known in the computer industry as tchotchkes, which is Yiddish for cheap trinkets, the knickknacks distributed in the past year have included "Love Me Tender" toilet-roll dispensers, wax eyeballs, chocolate computers and Nerf-ball launchers.Jim Carlton
Melissa Etheridge's spacious two-story home outside Los Angeles is filled with knickknacks from her life: Aside from awards and photos, there is a small collection of vintage neon clocks … and a Thelma & Louise poster signed by the cast (including a then-unknown Brad Pitt).Lynette Rice

Examples of knickknack in a Sentence

The shelves were filled with knickknacks. a variety of pretty porcelain knickknacks adorned the mantel
Recent Examples on the Web Marino honored Peninsula must-haves, like enormous walk-in dressing rooms with full sartorial knickknacks—who doesn’t need a shoehorn? Linda Laban, Robb Report, 12 Sep. 2023 Japanese records and more vintage knickknacks line the shelves. Kolbie Peterson, The Salt Lake Tribune, 18 Aug. 2023 The Kewpie booth at Sayonara, filled with vintage knickknacks from Elle Aragon's childhood, photos and Japanese records. Kolbie Peterson, The Salt Lake Tribune, 18 Aug. 2023 Snagging a stool at the countertop feels like sidling up to someone’s home kitchen, where knickknacks and mismatch-y dinnerware add to the charm. Elazar Sontag, Bon Appétit, 13 Sep. 2023 Photo: Getty Images WHILE PLANNING a move, Kathy Luck’s elderly parents walked her through their Houston home, recounting the origins of each knickknack and piece of furniture acquired over a lifetime of travel and collecting. Kate Morgan, WSJ, 14 July 2023 In general, they were fed up with throwaway culture: knickknacks flying off shelves wrapped in unnecessary packaging, plastic bags and cutlery designed to be used for mere seconds before being discarded. WIRED, 5 Aug. 2023 Then, add your knickknacks and decorative elements to tie the space together. Marisa Donnelly, Better Homes & Gardens, 2 Aug. 2023 Once the second-largest town in Maryland, Cumberland is filled with historical knickknacks. Southern Living Editors, Southern Living, 31 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'knickknack.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


reduplication of knack

First Known Use

1682, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of knickknack was in 1682

Dictionary Entries Near knickknack

Cite this Entry

“Knickknack.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


knick·​knack ˈnik-ˌnak How to pronounce knickknack (audio)
: a small ornamental object

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