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June 29, 2022

Tchotchke / noun / tchotch·​ke

The original definition of the Yiddish-based word "tchotchke" denoted the presence of a ‘pretty girl' or ‘ an unusually interesting woman.' Today, we use the word "tchotchke" as a noun that describes ornaments or trinkets. People use tchotchkes to decorate their homes, museums, and offices."Tchotchkes" line the shelves of curio cabinets, placed on the mantles of fireplaces, and in other locations for admiration while decorating interior spaces. Objects we consider as "tchotchkes" are also called ‘baubles' or ‘knick-knacks.' Decorators use tchotchkes and miscellaneous objects as collector's items and decorative trinkets for indoor and outdoor decoration.

In a Sentence

The wide variety of tchotchkes they saw on the front lawn drew them to attend the estate sale.

A group of tchotchkes got together and went shoe shopping at the new mall.

My grandmother had a collection of tchotchkes in her home that dated back to the early 1900s.


While many etymologists compare the word "tchotchke" to the Russian word tsatska, they also say we did not widely know or use this Yiddish word in English until after the 1960s. We used tchotchke in 1964 in American English as another way of saying "pretty girl." Today, we use the word to describe decorative ornaments, trinkets, and decorative junk.


Tsatske, Bauble




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