Fwd: "chad" revisited

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Nov 12 13:16:26 UTC 2000

Can anyone (dis)confirm this charming story?   The etymology was
forwarded to me by a former student of mine and long-time puzzler.


--- begin forwarded text

>>From the mailing list of the National Puzzlers' League...

To: npl-folk at puzzlers.org
Subject: Re: Non-NPL: voting machines
Sender: owner-npl-folk at rev.net

Speaking of voting methods, and somewhat more NPL-related: I was
rather amused to flip on the TV and find figures like Sam Donaldson
encountering, seemingly for the first time, the term "chad" for the
little confetti-like bits that come out of a punched card or paper

"Chad", it so happens, is a classic example of etymological "back-formation"
(at least, if the etymology suggested in the _Hacker's Dictionary_ is
correct). Someone named Chadless invented the Chadless Keypunch, which
makes a hole by *partially* punching out a little bit of paper and folding
it over (rather than punching it out entirely). Chad got its name (so it
is claimed) because a Chadless Keypunch doesn't produce any.


--- end forwarded text

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