September 17, 2007

tchotchkes n.

(pronounced: choch-keys)

Promotional items emblazoned with company logos, from the traditional type of giveaway (baseball cap, T-shirt, tote bag, or mouse pad) down to really weird junk (barf bags, butterfly nets, neon sunglasses, or pogo sticks). These items are usually given away in the thousands at shows and are given to other people in turn or retained as part of an individual's geekosphere [defined below].

Classification: Online Business term

a.k.a. knickknacks -or- swag -or- schwag




From "The Tao of Junk,"
By "Daniel Gross
Newsweek, Sept. 17, 2007, E30
Economists make a big deal out of all the junk we imported from China — tainted pet food, lead-laced toys and enough cheap plastic tchotchkes to load up a landfill the size of Montana.



swag: Scientific Wild Ass Guess -and- SoftWare And Giveaway
(pronounced: swag)

An acronym, it refers to someone making a guess at something, for example you may hear "Take a SWAG at it." This acronym originally stood for "SoftWare And Giveaways" and was used extensively throughout computer companies (such as Microsoft) to refer to tchotchkes, until the marketing industry later adopted it.

Classification: Online Business term

geekosphere: The area surrounding one's computer, where trinkets, personal mementos, toys and monitor pets are displayed. This is the place where geeks can "show their colors."

Classification: Online Jargon

monitor pets a. k. a. monitor juju The little trinkets, mementos and toys that decorate one's computer monitor. Objects that are imbued with spiritual or superstitious significance are also referred to as "monitor juju." They make life in a cube more manageable.

Classification: Online Jargon



hear of geekosphere before, or monitor pets, or monitor juju?


Me either.

These and dozens of other examples of cyberagoric argot * (my term) are displayed and defined at the website netlingo. If such words make your screen flicker, click over to

* cyberagoric argot (a nonce word) [si-ber-ah-gor'-ic ar'-go]

Jargon used among intense denizens of cyber-space, esp. on the Internet.


cyber- = prefix. Related to the electronic realm, hyper-space
-agoric = a nonce adjectival form. Characteristic of the agora in ancient Greece, a public space used for assemblies and markets.
argot = The jargon, slang, "in-terms" of a particular group.



tsatske - Yiddish
trinket, toy, knick-knack, bauble; ornament



Pictured here, a sub-category of tchotchkes called the gimme hat.
Derived from grasping customers saying "Gimme!" to sales reps
in the process of handing out free logoed baseball caps.

Thanks to Annenonymous for suggesting the word tchotchkes and
for photographing the Apple cap, modeled by the editor.