Victoria Neufeldt vneufeldt at M-W.COM
Mon Feb 28 16:35:07 UTC 2000

The word 'tchotchke' is not necessarily a pejorative term.  It is in fact a
synonym for 'knickknack'; that is, something not very valuable in itself,
but having sentimental or other personal appeal.  That is supported
immediately by Dennis's reaction to Diana's original posting.  He did after
all call the souvenir on his desk a 'tchotchke'.  People will refer to their
own things as tchotchkes, but rarely as kitsch (except for self-conscious
kitsch collectors, of course).

A couple of examples from our cite files: "The D & D building, as it is
known in the trade, serves as a prime source of furniture, fabrics, floor
coverings and tchotchkes used by interior designers and decorators." --New
York Times, Aug 15, 1980.    "There is enough here for the most demanding of
metaphysical shoppers.  Books, of course, and psychic tchotchkes for every
purpose -- candles for that meditative moment, crystals for healing,
..." --National Review, Dec 22, 1997.   "... collecting every sort of art,
from Old Masters to precious textiles, from rare books and manuscripts to
antique tchotchkes." --New York Times Book Review, Dec 28, 1997.
"Prepping for Holy Jubilee Year 2000, the Vatican will soon open a theme
store in New York, selling John Paul II sheets, china and other church
tchotchkes, as well as replicas of Italian art treasures."  --Newsweek, Jul
5, 1999.    "PW: How effective are readers' copies for booksellers?  What
about promotional tchotchkes? ... Becker: ...Tchotchkes are usually a waste
of effort, although we do make good use of bookmarks."  --Publishers Weekly,
Apr 6, 1998.


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> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU]On Behalf
> Of Diana Sheron Fingar
> Sent: Saturday, February 26, 2000 12:30 PM
> Subject: Re: tchotchkes
> If it is beautiful, at least to you, then it is NOT a tchotchke as far as
> you are concerned. Possibly not for me either, I would have to see it. I
> thought I made that clear in my second note.
> I only ever intended to point out that tchotchke is not a complimentary
> term and a little strange for an exhibit title. Actual beauty is always in
> the
> eye of the beholder, as is anything else.
> I will not respond to any other messages about tchotchkes or even read
> them,
> since I know I hate it when people get off topic.
>  I pronounce "gee-gaw"
> /gig(backwards-c)/. But perhaps my opinion isn't worth anything.
> Diana Fingar

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