tchotch·​ke | \ ˈchäch-kə How to pronounce tchotchke (audio) , -kē, ˈtsäts- How to pronounce tchotchke (audio) \
plural tchotchkes

Definition of tchotchke

: knickknack, trinket Carlene's furniture was garish and awful and every shelf or corner held tchotchkes and gewgaws and other tacky trinkets.— Ingrid Law … collecting every sort of art, from Old Masters to precious textiles, from rare books and manuscripts to antique tchotchkes.— Diane Wood Middlebrook Still crowding his apartment and warehouses is an assemblage that includes pre-Columbian and African statuary, Charles Eames chairs, bent-wood furniture, postage stamps, patent models, busts of Roman emperors and, Wilder readily admits, tchotchkes.— Susan Reed and Doris Bacon

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Did You Know?

Just as trinkets can dress up your shelves or coffee table, many words for "miscellaneous objects" or "nondescript junk" decorate our language. Knickknack, doodad, gewgaw, and whatnot are some of the more common ones. While many such words are of unknown origin, we know that tchotchke comes from the Yiddish tshatshke of the same meaning, and ultimately from a now-obsolete Polish word, czaczko. Tchotchke is a pretty popular word these days, but it wasn't commonly used in English until the 1970s.

Examples of tchotchke in a Sentence

a bedroom with polka-dot curtains, flowery wallpaper, and shelves cluttered with tchotchkes from a lifetime of vacations

Recent Examples on the Web

Boxes of tchotchkes that Day had amassed at sales piled up in every room., "A Mouseketeer mystery: Dennis Day’s extraordinary life and heartbreaking death," 6 July 2019 Some Flagstaff merchants offer special foods, drinks and tchotchkes with a lunar theme. Weldon B. Johnson, azcentral, "Celebrate Arizona's role in the Apollo moon landing with anniversary-themed food, drinks and souvenirs," 1 July 2019 Nestled in a tip of the Golden Triangle, on the border with Myanmar, Mae Sai is a trading hub and great place to buy duty-free tchotchkes. Max Marshall,, "Mining the Miracle," 26 June 2019 This place is less about showing off Peranakan tchotchkes in glass cases than offering visitors an experiential glimpse into how the Peranakans lived in the old days. Audrey Phoon, Condé Nast Traveler, "5 Best Day Trips from Singapore," 5 Mar. 2018 The retail section, meanwhile, features cookbooks, greeting cards, ceramics, T-shirts and other tchotchkes — a neighborhood gift shop, essentially. Janelle Bitker,, "Oakland brunch destination Grand Lake Kitchen opens ambitious second restaurant," 7 June 2019 And after all, who wants another tchotchke to stuff into their junk drawer? Madeleine Luckel, Vogue, "37 Wedding Trend Mistakes to Avoid in 2019: Succulents, Family-Style Meals, and More," 31 Dec. 2018 Critics say the company lacks direction, sometimes seeming to prioritize sales of gifts and tchotchkes over books. Tiffany Hsu, The Seattle Times, "Barnes & Noble struggles to survive; founder is confident of turnaround," 28 Aug. 2018 People don’t have to buy clothes and tchotchkes, and sales of these items might simply go away. Elizabeth Winkler, WSJ, "Profiting Off a Sears Bankruptcy Not So Simple for Rivals," 13 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tchotchke.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of tchotchke

1971, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tchotchke

Yiddish tshatshke trinket, from obsolete Polish czaczko

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Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

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The first known use of tchotchke was in 1971

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