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 Most items are commonplace and ubiquitous: Books, toys, puzzles, clothes, shoes, plants, food and snacks, tchotchkes, kitchenware, bikes, sporting equipment, furniture, household goods. Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje,, "When the coronavirus arrived in San Antonio, giving away stuff became a way to connect," 16 May 2020 Mariah Pisha-Duffly plans to set up a tent in Gado Gado’s parking lot with plants, tchotchkes and music for contact-less pickups. oregonlive, "Gado Gado team to launch new ‘Asian stoner food’ pop-up, Oma’s Takeaway," 6 Apr. 2020 But alongside a pinboard full of tchotchkes and a photo of her dog, sits a story that reminds Allwang of the importance of her job, now more than ever. Fernando Alfonso Iii, CNN, "The pandemic is causing an exponential rise in the online exploitation of children, experts say," 25 May 2020 From shower gel and foaming hand soap to adorable little tchotchkes, like a ceramic rabbit to latch onto your coffee-table candle, shop the Bath & Body Works Easter 2020 lineup, ahead. Megan Decker,, "Bath & Body Works Just Dropped Its Cutest Easter Candles Ever," 5 Mar. 2020 Environmental Protection Agency officials overseeing the Superfund site cleanup of pollution from nearly a century of smelting operations in Anaconda came across the potentially toxic tchotchkes for sale by the city’s chamber of commerce. Washington Post, "Mine waste gift bags pulled from shelves amid EPA warning," 18 Nov. 2019 The room: furniture and tchotchkes of a stately home of a generation past. Nr Editors, National Review, "The Week," 16 Apr. 2020 Environmental Protection Agency officials overseeing the Superfund cleanup of pollution from decades of smelter operations in Anaconda came across the potentially toxic tchotchkes for sale by the city’s chamber of commerce. USA TODAY, "Nativity on the run, ‘Bag O’Slag,’ kapu aloha: News from around our 50 states," 19 Nov. 2019 The idea was born to create an elaborate replica of their favorite ride, using toys, trinkets and tchotchkes from around his house and garage. oregonlive, "Grandpa builds replica ‘It’s a Small World’ at home to take grandkids on virtual Disney ride," 1 Apr. 2020

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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Time Traveler for tchotchke

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The first known use of tchotchke was in 1971

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Cite this Entry

“Tchotchke.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2020.

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