The once obscure term "chad" is now in the news of late because of the 2000 presidential election recounts. Machine recounts are higher than the original counts because chad is more likely to fall off the more times the ballots are run through the machines. Apparently there are five types of chad. In a hand recount, the first three would be counted as legitimate votes, but the last two would not

Hanging door: one corner hanging off
Swinging door: two corners hanging off
Tri-chad: three corners hanging off
Pregnant: the chad bulges but is not punched through
Dimple: the chad is indented


Chad is also the name of a 7th century saint from Ireland who was the Bishop of Lichfield. He is also known as Ceadda.

Almighty God, whose servant Chad, for the peace of the Church, relinquished cheerfully the honors that had been thrust upon him, only to be rewarded with equal responsibility: Keep us, we pray thee, from thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought to think, and ready at all times to give place to others, (in honor preferring one another,) that the cause of Christ may be advanced; in the name of him who washed his disciples' feet, even the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Chad is the most common name given to the traditional graffiti caricature of a man peeking over a wall. (see Mr. Chad for an ASCII rendition, sans caption) These daubings proliferated during the Second World War, where they would be accompanied by slogans such as "Wot, no beer?" and "Wot, no eggs?" (rationing you see). As with the famous slogan "Kilroy was here", there are many stories surrounding the origin of this image. It is widely believed to have originated, or at least been widely distributed, by staff at army and air force facilities, where there would be many opportune moments, locations and situations prompting its appearance ("Wot, no bombs?").

One possibility is the name "Chad" came from the movie Chad Hanna, inferring that the large-nosed caricature is of Humphrey Bogart. Another, ultra-dubious story claims that the image came from air force electronics classes - after a diagram of a sine wave marked with two +'s under the two humps and a - in the central valley (and the slogan "Wot, no electrons?"). Still occasionally seen, but more often in the pages of the Beano than in tag-daubed inner city ghettoes.

A republic in Africa and formerly a French colony. French military troops are still active in Chad to support the government against Muslim freedom movement activists. Libya claims the north part of Chad, the two countries have been involved in violent conflicts against each other. In a few European countries Chad is called Tchad.

cdr = C = chad box

chad /chad/ n.

1. [common] The perforated edge strips on printer paper, after they have been separated from the printed portion. Also called selvage, perf, and ripoff. 2. The confetti-like paper bits punched out of cards or paper tape; this has also been called `chaff', `computer confetti', and `keypunch droppings'. It's reported that this was very old Army slang (associated with teletypewriters before the computer era), and has been occasionally sighted in directions for punched-card vote tabulators long after it passed out of live use among computer programmers in the late 1970s. This sense of `chad' returned to the mainstream during the finale of the hotly disputed U.S. presidential election in 2000 via stories about the Florida vote recounts. Note however that in the revived mainstream usage chad is not a mass noun and `a chad' is a single piece of the stuff.

There is an urban legend that `chad' (sense 2) derives from the Chadless keypunch (named for its inventor), which cut little u-shaped tabs in the card to make a hole when the tab folded back, rather than punching out a circle/rectangle; it was clear that if the Chadless keypunch didn't make them, then the stuff that other keypunches made had to be `chad'. However, serious attempts to track down "Chadless" as a personal name or U.S. trademark have failed, casting doubt on this etymology - and the U.S. Patent Classification System uses "chadless" (small c) as an adjective, suggesting that "chadless" derives from "chad" and not the other way around. There is another legend that the word was originally acronymic, standing for "Card Hole Aggregate Debris", but this has all the earmarks of a backronym. It has also been noted that the word "chad" is Scots dialect for gravel, but nobody has proposed any plausible reason that card chaff should be thought of as gravel. None of these etymologies is really plausible.

--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.

Chad (?), n.

See Shad.



© Webster 1913.

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