Tchotchke (/ˈtʃɒtʃkə/ choch-ka)
– a small bauble or miscellaneous item. Depending on context, the term has a connotation of worthlessness or disposability as well as tackiness and has long been used by Jewish-Americans and in the regional speech of New York City and elsewhere.

The word may also refer to free promotional items dispensed at trade shows, conventions, and similar large events. Also, stores that sell cheap souvenirs in tourist areas like Times Square, Venice Beach, and Waikiki Beach in Hawaii 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 common outside of Jewish circles. The term [ˈ] is sometimes used in modern Hebrew as a slang word equivalent to slut.

The word “tchotchke” derives from a Slavic word for “a trinket” adapted to Yiddish Sg. טשאַטשקע, tshatshke, “trinket”. Tchotchkes are often given at Chanukkah as part of a game. A wide variety of spellings exist for the English usage of the term, e.g. tshotshke, tshatshke, tchachke, tchotchka, tchatchka, chachke, tsotchke, chotski, or chochke; the standard Yiddish transliteration is tsatske or tshatshke. In Israeli Hebrew it is often spelled צאצקע, [ˈ], with a tsade instead of teth-shin, as in Yiddish. (Wikipedia)

2 responses »

  1. GB says:

    Good one OFC. I’m sure the word came up occasionally on Seinfeld. But when I googled Seinfeld and Tchotchke the following interesting article came up about what was probably my favorite episodes of all time:

    June 17, 2010

    Master of the Mets’ Domain

    Every Father’s Day, dads get barbecues, neckties and golf tchotchkes. Then there is the gift Jerry Seinfeld will get this year.
    His wife, Jessica, has arranged for Seinfeld to take part in a broadcast of a Mets game, his longtime dream. On Wednesday, when the Mets play the Detroit Tigers at Citi Field, Seinfeld will spend at least three innings in the SNY broadcast booth with Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez.
    Seinfeld’s appearance will be a reunion of sorts. In 1992, Hernandez was the centerpiece of the two-part episode on “Seinfeld” called “The Boyfriend.” In the episode, Seinfeld sheepishly befriended his baseball hero, Hernandez. But their friendship fell apart after Hernandez dated Jerry’s ex-girlfriend, Elaine. The final straw came when Hernandez asked Jerry to help him move his furniture.
    Seinfeld and Hernandez have met infrequently since the episode aired. Seinfeld spent six more years on the show and has been busy raising a family. Hernandez has worked as a baseball commentator for years.
    But Hernandez said his appearance on the episode, which popularized phrases like “magic loogie” and “second spitter,” continues to resonate with fans, including many who never saw him play baseball.
    “It gave me a second shelf life, it’s just incredible,” Hernandez said of his role, which came after he retired from baseball. “I have people who still stop me in airports and ask me what it’s like to kiss Elaine, and yell, ‘Nice game, pretty boy.’ ”
    Apropos of his off-the-cuff broadcasting style, Hernandez said he expects to ask Seinfeld only one prepared question: What did you really think of my performance on the show? Nearly 20 years later, Hernandez refuses to watch the episode “because I thought I stunk.”
    Ron Darling, Hernandez’s fellow commentator and ex-teammate on the Mets, will have the night off on Wednesday. But in a bit of intrigue, Darling said he was asked to appear on that “Seinfeld” episode before Hernandez but turned down the part because he did not want to upset his then-wife, who was struggling to land acting jobs.
    Seinfeld, who declined to comment for this article, is a devout Mets fan. He has a suite at Citi Field, has thrown out the first pitch and often mentioned the Mets on his show. A Mets cap hung in the corner of his New York apartment on the show.
    Seinfeld has long wanted to help call a game. As a surprise, his wife contacted her friend, whose husband is Gary Apple, an announcer at SNY. Apple passed on the request to the senior vice president for production, Curt Gowdy Jr., who quickly embraced the idea.
    “I said why not,” Gowdy said. “He’s a cultural icon and a huge Mets fan.”
    Gary Cohen, the Mets’ play-by-play announcer, may have the toughest job on Wednesday. In addition to calling the game, he will have to moderate the conversation between Seinfeld and Hernandez, two baseball nuts who make their living cracking jokes.
    “I don’t know what it’s going to be like, but I know that Jerry is the funny one, and I don’t want to get in his way,” Cohen said. “I’ll interject a little play-by-play and just let it flow.”

  2. Tina says:

    You love your tchotchkes haha

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