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

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 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 Decades of high school lit seminars, let alone the gradual opening of the playgoing class’s eyes to the world’s inequities and terrors, have transformed it from an enigmatic museum piece into an existential tchotchke. New York Times, 7 May 2021 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 functional measuring spoons. Mackenzie Chung Fegan, Bon Appétit, 3 May 2021 For the Confederate Battle Flag — a symbol of Southern sedition in the Civil War, and an emblem of bondage — its second act as gift-shop tchotchke represents willful ignorance at best., 21 Apr. 2021 The clay figures started making their way back to Salem in the early 18th century, packed in duffle bags by merchant seaman who bought them in Indian markets as tourist tchotchke. Murray Whyte,, 14 Jan. 2021 While a whimsical or expensive tchotchke may have been easy go-to items in years past, gifts rooted in utility are the ultimate mood-boosters this holiday season. Rachel Besser, Vogue, 9 Dec. 2020 Ruby waking up in the body of a white woman (Jamie Neumann) — and William/Christina’s long con of getting a magical tchotchke into the office of Chicago PD captain Seamus Lancaster, the head of the city’s Sons of Adam lodge. Ariana Romero,, 14 Sep. 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.

See More

First Known Use of tchotchke

1971, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tchotchke

Yiddish tshatshke trinket, from obsolete Polish czaczko

Learn More About tchotchke

Time Traveler for tchotchke

Time Traveler

The first known use of tchotchke was in 1971

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About tchotchke

Dictionary Entries Near tchotchke




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for tchotchke

Last Updated

14 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tchotchke.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!