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Chainik: Wikis


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Chainik (Russian: чайник, "teakettle"). Implies both ignorance and a certain amount of willingness to learn (as well as a propensity to cause disaster), but does not necessarily imply as little experience or short exposure time as newbie and is not as derogatory as luser. Both a novice user and someone using a computer system for a long time without any understanding of the internals can be referred to as chainiks. Term can also apply to novice drivers, with such usage easily pre-dating the usage in computing context. Very widespread term in Russian hackish, often used in an English context by Russian-speaking hackers esp. in Israel (e.g. "Our new colleague is a complete chainik"). FidoNet discussion groups often had a "chainik" subsection for newbies and, well, old chainiks (eg. su.asm.chainik, ru.linux.chainik, ru.html.chainik). Public projects often have a chainik mailing list to keep the chainiks off the developers' and experienced users' discussions. Today, the word is slowly slipping into mainstream Russian due to the Russian translation of the popular ...For Dummies series, which (correctly) uses "chainik" for "dummy". [1]

The term is derived from a Russian folk custom to make a gift of a hollow thing: a pitted pumpkin, a kettle, a teapot, etc., - to unsuccessful matchmakers of an aspiring groom rejected by a bride. The unlucky groom was mockingly called chainik. Over time the term entered other usages for unlucky, inept, or newbie people. [2]

A usage of the term in the modern colloquial Russian is the usage of "chainik" in relation to amateur/novice drivers (of a car). Sales of a back windshield stickers with a picture of a kettle (chainik) are considerable, and the presence of such stickers undoubtedly marks a novice driver who asks for understanding and patience from other drivers on the road.


  1. ^ This article is based in part on the Jargon File, which is in the public domain.
  2. ^ A Large Dictionary of Russian Nicknames, by Harry Walter and Valery Mokiyenko (2007) ISBN 5373004359, p. 19


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