The Null Device

Another UL debunked: The word "chad", as seen in the press recently in light of some dubious events in the US, is not back-formed from a Mr. Chadless, inventor of the chadless key punch, as the Jargon File suggested. It now appears that Mr. Chadless never existed (no more than the legendary inventor of the brassière, the renowned German engineer Otto Titzling). The latest theory is that 'chad' comes from the Scottish word for gravel.

(I wonder whether, once facts are forgotten and selectively rediscovered a few times, theories will emerge that the term "chad" originated in the year 2000, as a reference to St. Chad, the patron saint of disputed elections.)

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