n. 1. The tiny bits of paper left over from punching data cards. Also called computer confetti or keypunch droppings. 2. The perforated strips of computer paper, after they have been separated from a printout.

Example Citation:
"Democrats argued that some of those small rectangles, called 'chad', clung to the voting card and were pushed back into their hole when the cards were fed into the vote counting machines, nullifying the vote.
—Julian Borger, "Irregularities Democrats Fear Suspected Errors Will Go Unchecked," The Guardian, November 14, 2000

Against all the odds, the U.S. presidential election of 2000 turned chad into a famous buzzword. Who knew that we would eventually end up with an entire taxonomy of chad? Apparently, there's chad and then there's chad:
  • pregnant chad — A chad that's only indented slightly and is still fully attached to the card.
  • dimpled chad — Same as a pregnant chad.
  • hanging chad —- Only one corner remains attached to the card.
  • swinging chad — Two corners remain attached to the card.
  • tri-chad — Three corners remain attached to the card.
These are all semi-official designations that were actually used in the manual recounts. The basic rule is that a ballot with a pregnant (or dimpled) chad is not counted, but a ballot with a hanging chad, swinging chad, or tri-chad is counted. Some of the controversy lay in the fact that in most cases ballots with the latter three chad types would not have been counted by the machine method because the attached chad would likely block the hole when the card was fed through.

One last thing to note is that the plural of chad is chad, not "chads."

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