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

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 This is the same technology that has been growing in recent years to make coasters and other tchotchkes. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "3D-printed (and CNC-milled) guns: Nine questions you were too afraid to ask," 5 Aug. 2018 Working at Etsy seems partly like a free pass to collect as many tchotchkes as seemingly possible, but that’s not Linda’s style. Danielle Fox, ELLE Decor, "Inside the Vintage-Filled Chelsea Home of Etsy’s COO," 5 June 2018 There were as many disposable trinkets made in China commemorating the June LGBTQ celebration of Pride as there were red, white, and blue Fourth of July tchotchkes. Petula Dvorak, Washington Post, "At Target and Walmart, Pride is profitable. The Supreme Court ought to drop by.," 7 June 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 In the wrong context, too much tchotchke—but in the right hands, the sign of a certain haute-boho dash. Sadie Stein, ELLE Decor, "In Defense of Maximalism," 23 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

23 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for tchotchke

The first known use of tchotchke was in 1971

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What made you want to look up tchotchke? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to speak slightingly about or to degrade

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