Definitions

Tchotchke

Tchotchke

[chahch-kuh]

Tchotchke (originally from Yiddish טשאַטשקע tshatshke, trinket, ultimately from a Slavic word for "toys" (Polish: cacka, Russian: цацки)) are trinkets, small toys, knickknacks, baubles, or kitsch. The term has a connotation of worthlessness or disposability, as well as tackiness. The term was long used in the Jewish-American community and in the regional speech of New York City.

The word may also refer to swag, in the sense of the logo pens, keyfobs and other promotional freebies dispensed at trade shows, conventions and similar large events. Also, stores that sell cheap souvenirs in tourist areas like Times Square and Venice Beach are sometimes called tchotchke shops.

Leo Rosten, author of The Joys of Yiddish, gives an alternate sense of tchotchke as meaning a desirable young girl, a "pretty young thing". Less flatteringly, the term could be construed as a more dismissive synonym for "bimbo". These usages are not widely used outside Jewish circles. The term (in the form tzatzke with a "z" instead of a "ch") is sometimes used in modern Hebrew as a slang word equivalent to "slut."

Spelling

A variety of spellings exist for the English usage of the term, e.g. tshotshke, tshatshke, tchatchke, chachke, or chochke, because there is no standardized transliteration.

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