tchotchke

noun

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

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.

Example Sentences

shelves cluttered with tchotchkes from a lifetime of vacations
Recent Examples on the Web Early December, a tchotchke shop in Brooklyn—an employee advises me about which novelty socks to pair with which comical greeting card for a friend. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, 18 Jan. 2023 There's even a little drawer for storing a charging cable or some other tchotchke. WIRED, 27 Nov. 2022 From easy and affordable tchotchke that stuffs a stocking to sensible, practical automobile gear that will make her life easier, safer, and more comfortable, this list has everything a car-loving mom could possibly want. Jon Langston, Car and Driver, 12 Nov. 2022 The kids weren’t wrestling for a Nescafe globe coffee mug but for another promotional tchotchke: a matching Chiquita banana bowl and spoon. John Kelly, Washington Post, 22 Aug. 2022 Which is a shame because aside from being a tchotchke-hoarder, my mom also loves to bake, and any great baker needs a set of high-quality, actually functional measuring spoons. Bon Appétit, 22 Apr. 2022 Amazon is still not great at physical stores: Amazon will close more than 50 of its retail shops, including its bookstores and tchotchke outposts called Amazon 4-Star. New York Times, 3 Mar. 2022 Every stick of furniture, piece of art, light fixture and side table tchotchke is included. Howard Walker, Robb Report, 16 Nov. 2021 Using my iPhone to control my Roku has been a pleasure, and my little ergonomically slippery external remote control now sits comfortably on my coffee table, a tchotchke next to my Scrabble-tile coasters and my roommate’s potted succulent. Joe Reid, Vulture, 19 Aug. 2021 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

Yiddish tshatshke trinket, from obsolete Polish czaczko

First Known Use

1971, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of tchotchke was in 1971

Podcast

Dictionary Entries Near tchotchke

Cite this Entry

“Tchotchke.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tchotchke. Accessed 2 Feb. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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