- -nik as in beatnik, etc., suffix used in word formation from c.1945, from Yiddish -nik (Cf. nudnik "a bore"), from Rus. -nik, common personal suffix meaning "person or thing associated with or involved in" (Cf. NUDNIK (Cf. nudnik); kolkhoznik "member of a kolkhoz"). Rocketed to popularity with SPUTNIK (Cf. sputnik) (q.v.).
Etymology dictionary. 2014.