Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Nudnik

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is nudnik. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

Nudnik refers to a person who is a bore or nuisance.

// She dreads family gatherings, as her nudnik of a brother-in-law is always sure to be there droning on about this or that.

NUDNIK in Context

“A ‘comic book obsessed nudnik,’ [Anthony] Bourdain was born in Manhattan on his literary hero’s birthday (George Orwell) and grew up in New Jersey. Deeply influenced by Hunter S. Thompson, ‘Angry Anthony’ was raised in a household under the ‘smothering chokehold of love and normalcy,’ as he wrote in Medium Raw.” — Kirkus Reviews, 1 Aug. 2022

Did You Know?

The suffix -nik, meaning “one connected with or characterized by being,” came to English through Yiddish (and ultimately from Polish and Ukrainian). You might know it from such words as beatnikpeacenikneatnik, or even no-goodnik. The suffix -nik is frequently used in English to create nonce words that are often playfully jokey or slightly derogatory. Some theorize that the popularity of the suffix was enhanced by Russian Sputnik, as well as Al Capp’s frequent use of -nik words in his L’il Abner cartoons. The nud- of the Yiddish borrowing nudnik ultimately comes from the Polish word nuda, meaning “boredom.”

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