as in beatnik, etc., suffix used in word formation from c. 1945, from Yiddish -nik (as in nudnik "a bore"), from Russian -nik, common personal suffix meaning "person or thing associated with or involved in" (compare nudnik; kolkhoznik "member of a kolkhoz"). Rocketed to popularity with sputnik (q.v.), hence its brief vogue in English word-formation, as in robotnik "person behaving with mindless obedience" (1960).
The Latin suffix is cognate with Greek -inos/-ine/-inon, and in some modern scientific words the element is from Greek. Added to names, it meant "of or pertaining to, of the nature of" (Florentinus), and so it also was commonly used in forming Roman proper names, originally appellatives (Augustinus, Constantinus, Justinus, etc.) and its descendants in Romanic languages continued active in name-forming. The Latin fem. form, -ina, was used in forming abstracts (doctrina, medicina). Relics of the attempt to continue a distinction between Latin -ina and -inus account for the English hesitation in spelling between -in and -ine.
syllable formed when the word-forming element -ion (from Latin -io) is fixed to a base or to another suffix ending in -t or -te. In Middle English, in words via Old French, it often was -cion (in coercion and suspicion, however, the -c- belongs to the base).
It also appears in Romanic words from Latin that have been borrowed into English, such as opera, plaza, armada. It figures in scientific names coined in Modern Latin (amoeba, soda, magnolia, etc.) and is common in geographical names formed according to Latin or Greek models (Asia, Africa, America, Arabia, Florida, etc.)
In English it marks sex only in personal names (Julia, Maria, Alberta) and in a few words from Italian or Spanish where a corresponding male form also is in use (donna, senora).