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 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, "The Best Mother’s Day Gifts for Moms Who Cook," 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., "Artist Sonya Clark weaves a corrective to the story of the Confederacy," 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,, "At Peabody Essex, a reset on South Asian art," 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, "The 23 Coziest Gifts to Give This Holiday Season," 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,, "Lovecraft Country Episode 5 Recap: The Horror Of William, Explained," 14 Sep. 2020 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

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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Last Updated

6 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tchotchke.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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