*Gopnik’s name cracks me up, because in Russia the term “gopnik” (го́пник) refers to lower class street punks known for their drinking, loutish behavior, petty criminality, and stylish dress, usually consisting of Adidas track suits and dress shoes. In other words, го́пники are pretty much the antithesis of Manhattan prog Adam Gopnik, and no doubt the typical го́пник would take great pleasure in beating the snot out of the likes of Adam Gopnik.

Harsh but true.

7 thoughts on “Ouch”

  1. So Much for Subtlety

    Gopnik is, presumably, a Russian surname. I would even guess a Russian Jewish surname but I don’t want to upset Ironman. Russian anyway, not Yiddish.

    So the names may have a similar root. How do two words come from the same root and yet mean such different things? I doubt the surname is because someone’s grandfather was a Mod.

  2. @ SMFS
    “Gopnik” doesn’t sound like a Russian surname to me: most end in “…ov” or a variant with quite a few “…enko” or “…in” or “…ich” but I cannot recall a single one ending in “…nik”.
    My dictionary says that it is slang and means “yob” – the word pre-dates chavs with their designer clothes

  3. As john77 says, Gopnik doesnt sound like a Russian surname. The “-enko” ending is Ukrainian, “-ich” tends to be Belorussian. An “-ik” suffix normally means something small, like “-ette” in English/French.

  4. So Much for Subtlety

    john77 – ““Gopnik” doesn’t sound like a Russian surname to me: most end in “…ov” or a variant with quite a few “…enko” or “…in” or “…ich” but I cannot recall a single one ending in “…nik”.”

    But a lot of Slavic, and especially Russian, words have that -nik ending. It is, as TimN says, a diminutive. As in Sputnik as above. Kolkhoznik – someone stuck on a collective farm. Or Chetnik in Serbia. A Polk is a regiment in a whole lot of Slavic languages. So a Polkovnik is a regimental commander in virtually all of them.

    “My dictionary says that it is slang and means “yob” – the word pre-dates chavs with their designer clothes”

    But it is interesting how our ferals and their ferals act and dress the same. I blame self-esteem. If you are happy with yourself and do not need the approval of others, why not wear shell suits and sit around drinking?

    Still no closer to working out the origin of either term. The only Gopniks that are notable enough for a Wiki are Adam, his sister and his mother. Whereas we would need his father for the name. As for the criminals:

    The term “gopnik” was probably derived from slang term gop-stop, meaning street mugging. Another theory is that “gopnik” derived from the acronym GOP, probably a reference to Gorodskoye Obshchestvo Prizreniya (the municipal agency for care of destitutes), the numerous almshouses organized by the government after the October Revolution. Another version translates the acronym as Gorodskoye Obshchezhitiye Proletariata (The Municipal Dormitory of the Proletariat), putatively organized in the 1920s in Leningrad in the hotel Oktyabrskaya, which quickly became known for the criminal activities of its inhabitants. The major argument against the second theory is that there are no surviving records proving the existence of such an institution in Leningrad.

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