This week’s word is one I’m very fond of. I’ve been using it for years: but, as it turns out, incorrectly. This is the first time I’ve ever looked it up.
Here’s the definition according to my trusty Chambers Dictionary app:
That’s a bit of a surprise. I always understood nudnik to mean an irritatingly persistent individual, and indeed use it to refer to telemarketers. So I did some more digging around. Here’s what I found on Wiktionary:
noodnik is attested since 1925, nudnik since 1929. From Yiddishנודניק (nudnik) < root of נודיען (nudyen, “to bore”) + ניק (-nik, “noun-forming suffix”). Ultimately from Proto-Slavic*nuda < Proto-Indo-European*neuti- (“need”) < *nau- (“death, to be exhausted”).
Compare Russian нудный (núdnyj, “tedious”), Ukrainian нудний (núdnýj, “tedious”), Polish nudny (“boring”), Old Church Slavonic ноудити (nuditi) or нѫдити (nǫditi, “to compell”), Hebrew נוּדְנִיק (“nag”) and English -nik.
- A person who is very annoying; a persistent nag.
- A bore; a boring person.
- A pest of a person; a jerk.
Looks as though I’m not completely wrong after all. Maybe the convergent etymologies explain the differences in definition. My, how we live and learn!