From Mandarin 太空 (tàikōng, “space”) + -naut, modelled after astronaut, cosmonaut, spationaut, etc. The term was coined on 19 May 1998 by Chiew Lee Yih (趙里昱／赵里昱 (Zhào Lǐyù)) from Malaysia, who used it first in newsgroups. Almost simultaneously, Chen Lan coined it for use in the Western media.
- Hyphenation: tai‧ko‧naut
taikonaut (plural taikonauts)
- A person who travels in space for the Chinese space program; a Chinese astronaut. [from 1998.]
- 2003, Peter Schwartz, Inevitable Surprises, page x:
- The past decade has seen remarkable events and changes: […] The Columbia disaster and a Chinese taikonaut in orbit