from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A natural bed for oysters, consisting of gravel or crushed shells to which the oyster spawn may adhere.
  • n. The spawn of the oyster.
  • n. New England Clean trash or rubbish, such as string, paper, and cloth: "We always had a culch box around” ( New Hampshire informant in DARE).
  • n. A person or thing not highly regarded.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The rocks, crushed shells, and other sea detritus that create an oyster bed, where oyster spawn can attach themselves.
  • n. The accumulation of small household items of little value. (New England expression.)
  • v. To prepare an oyster bed with such (culch) attachments.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Rubbish; lumber; stuff.
  • To apply (cultch) to (an oyster-bed). See culching.


Perhaps ultimately from Old French culche, couch; see couch.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)


  • The young probably find a natural "culch" in the many shells, cockle and others, that strew the rock, sand, and clay.

    The Land of Midian — Volume 1

  • Minghella's movie is culture with a capital culch: it has ghosts playing Bach, a plumber who quotes Dylan Thomas and the kind of cinematography that holds a close-up of a white sheet on a clothesline, possibly signifying the Whiteness of Life.

    Ghostest With The Mostest

  • The young probably find a natural “culch” in the many shells, cockle and others, that strew the rock, sand, and clay.

    The Land of Midian

  • The theatre looks amazing, check out bngr's post (complete with pics) on culch. ie here.

    Irish Blogs

  • From the land of imitation Rolex, Ray Bans, Gucci and more, the roaming culch. ie correspondents give you the first of a scandalous series.

    Irish Blogs

  • No, I just never have anything decent and culch related to write about.

    Irish Blogs

  • Since “culch” can be read (or said) as short for “culture”, the website’s address is doubly apt.

    A culchie joins


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  • Sense 3 is often used in rural Maine (where I grew up in the 1970s) in the phrase "culch drawer," used to refer to that drawer in the kitchen where useful things like string, rubber bands, nails, wrapping paper and so on are collected. "Rubbish" doesn't seem to quite capture the sense of it - culch isn't stuff you throw out, it's stuff you keep because it might come in handy.

    I think this sense must have a different etymology from the word which refers to an oyster-bed. I always believed it to come from "cullage," i.e., that which is held out and kept for some purpose; but I don't have any evidence to support it other than the observation that the -age construction (stumpage, yardage, etc.) was in common use.

    June 25, 2009