A. Vine avine at ENG.SUN.COM
Mon Feb 28 19:32:23 UTC 2000

As someone who was raised in a household which threw in the occasional Yiddish
term or phrase, I can say that "tchotchke" is not pejorative.  It suggests a
size and a price (small and low), but has no negative implications when used in
the traditional Yiddish sense.  For a pejorative Yiddish term for cheap
trinkets/souvenirs/gee-gaws, I would use "schlock".  "Kitsch" to me, while a bit
negative, tends to be negative in the sense of useless, cheap, and above all,
tacky.  "Schlock" is stronger, referring to the quality, like calling something
"crap" but with an air of sleaze.

I don't know how folks with indirect exposure to Yiddish terms would define
them, though.


Diana Sheron Fingar wrote:
> I'm afraid I don't have an English context/date pre-1964 for
> "tchotchkes", but I'm wondering why anyone would want to have an
> exhibit of them. Tchotchkes are junky ugly little knicknacks, like
> you'd get on vacation, or junk out of people's attics. It's a
> perjorative term.

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