a suffix of nouns that refer, usually derogatorily, to persons who support or are concerned or associated with a particular political cause or group, cultural attitude, or the like: beatnik, filmnik; no-goodnik; peacenik.

Nearby words

  1. -nap,
  2. -nastic,
  3. -nasty,
  4. -naut,
  5. -ness,
  6. -noia,
  7. -nomy,
  8. -o,
  9. -o-,
  10. -oate

Origin of -nik

< Yiddish (cf. nudnik) < Slavic: a personal suffix in Slavic languages in contact with Yiddish

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for -nik


suffix forming nouns

denoting a person associated with a specified state, belief, or qualitybeatnik; refusenik

Word Origin for -nik

C20: from Russian -nik, as in Sputnik, and influenced by Yiddish -nik (agent suffix)

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for -nik


as in beatnik, etc., suffix used in word formation from c.1945, from Yiddish -nik (cf. nudnik "a bore"), from Russian -nik, common personal suffix meaning "person or thing associated with or involved in" (cf. nudnik; kolkhoznik "member of a kolkhoz"). Rocketed to popularity with sputnik (q.v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper