Chad

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The noun chad has at least four unconnected significations.

  • There are two proper nouns.
    • Geographically and politically, 'The Republic of Chad' is a land-locked country in Africa, where it lies between Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, and Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon and the Central African Republic to the west and south. It is the fifth largest country in Africa, and the largest of the 16 land-locked countries. In colonial times, the Territoire Militaire des Pays et Protectorats du Tchad was annexed in 1900, and by 1920, it was part of French Equatorial Africa. After 1945, Chad was a French overseas territory. In 1960, Chad became an independent country.
The name Chad here is the Arabic word تشاد‎ tshad 'large lake', specifically the name of Lake Chad a shallow body of water much subject to seasonal change in size, and now shrinking greatly as a part of increasing desertification of thgisits part of Africa. It was formerly the second largest area of water in Africa.
    • Chad can also be a forename, more used in North America than in Britain. The original Chad was a Northumbrian saint (died 673) known in his own Old English language as Ceadda. He was for a short time Bishop of Northumbria at Yotk, but gave way to Wilfrid, and became instead Bishop of Mercia, where he founded the diocese and cathedral of Lichfield. He is the patron and dedicatee of St Chad's Cathedral in Birmingham.
The name Chad is probably Welsh; the spelling Ceadda is certainly English.
    • A later bearer of the forename was the Rev, Chad Varah (1911-2007), who founded the Samaritans, the organization which administers telephone hotlines to counsel the despairing and prevent suicide. Later, he helped his colleague, the Rev. Marcus Morris, found the magazines for young people Eagle (for boys), Girl (for girls), Robin (for younger readers) and Swift, the next step up from Robin. These were conceived of as serious and responsible entertainment for the young, without the aimless sensationalism of the more American style of comics, then seen as a moral danger to British youth. They were a "powerful influence for good on a whole generation" (ODNB, s.v. Morris, (John) Marcus Harston (1915–1989)), though despite their origins with two clergymen, did not force their Christianity onto young people. (Chad Varah was born in Barton-upon-Humber, where his father was vicar of St Peter's church, which was said to have been founded by St Chad, although the current building, known as one of the oldest extant in England, is at least a hundred years later than his death.
  • Two common nouns chad may be of interest and use to students.
    • In social sciences and history, students may see references to Mr Chad, or 'a chad'. This is the graffito of a face appearing behind, with its nose and two hands in front of a wall, commonly scribbled during the second world war) with a slogan "Wot, no [sugar, eggs, or any other shortage]?" In later times, the slogan was often a plaintive "Wot, no luck?" (For a disquisition on 'wot' as a variant spelling of 'what', see What - wat - watt - wot.)
The etymological origin of the name 'Mr Chad' is lost.
    • In the paper industry, 'a chad' is the scrap of waste paper removed from a punched hole. When such scraps have been incompletely, or imperfectly, punched or perforated out, the chads still attached to the paper may be described as hanging chads. Such chads hanging on the ballot papers in the voting machines, which relied on voters punching ballot papers, used in the state of Florida during the 2000 American presidential election, were disqualified from the count. This was held by supporters of the Democratic candidate Al Gore to have explained the victory by the Republican George W. Bush (whose brother Jeb was Governor of Florida), although he had fewer votes than Gore.