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

No more teeny, tiny tchotchkes lying around with the only purpose of collecting dust. Joan Morris, The Mercury News, "San Jose designer focuses on comfort, functionality and style," 2 July 2019 But what are these tchotchkes, these mugs and towels and even conferences, really selling? Laura Turner, Vox, "A brief history of “doing life together”," 2 Aug. 2019 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 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 But almost everything that businesses make—from phone cases to propellers to drills—lies between these bookends of tchotchkes and jet-engines, and is often made of metal or composites of metals and other materials. Jason Pontin, WIRED, "3D Printing Is the Future of Factories (for Real This Time)," 11 July 2018 Bell's doesn't just bring beer; representatives bring collectible tchotchkes, like last year's gold lamé caps. Kathy Flanigan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Start making pretzel necklaces now: Beer festival season is in full pour," 9 July 2018 Per royal tchotchke tradition, Madame Tussauds debuted the couple’s official statues a few days ahead of their wedding last month. Melissa Locker, Time, "People Reacted Accordingly to This Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Stunt," 12 June 2018 Much splinters and cracks during this fine production: relationships, tchotchkes, hearts – as in opening up, allowing in air and light, and as in destruction. John Timpane,, "'Splinter and Crack' at Juniper Productions: A chase across time and psyche, with breaking hearts," 6 May 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

7 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for tchotchke

The first known use of tchotchke was in 1971

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