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Nerd, dork or geek

  • A nerd is someone who is obsessed with something specific to an annoying degree, a nerd has poor social skills and is generally regarded with disdain. The word nerd has been embraced by the technical community and in some circles, it is considered a complimentary description of a person dedicated to a certain study or pastime. Related words are nerdy and nerdish. The word nerd was first used in the 1950 book If I Ran the Zoo by Dr. Seuss. Soon after, nerd became teenage slang for over-studious social outcasts.

    A dork is someone who is socially awkward, fashion-challenged, uncool, stupid. Related words are dorky and dorkiness. Dork comes into the English language in the American Midwest in the mid-1960s as a more acceptable alternative to a slang word that means phallus.

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    A geek is a socially inept or odd person, usually one who is interested in technology. Geek is an old word that originally described a person who worked in circus or carnival sideshows as a freak. Usually, a geek in a sideshow performed a disgusting act such as biting the head off a live chicken. Related words are geeky and geekiness. The word geek is derived from geck, meaning a simpleton, from the Dutchword gek.

    Examples

    Now, former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke is the latest celebrity nerd to get a cameo on the show. (The Washington Post)

    ‘The Martian’ has thrills for the sci-fi nerd in everyone (The Japan Times)

    The tablet-camera annoyingly blocks the view of anyone standing behind the holder, and has the added effect of making the iPad shutterbug look like a tremendous dork. (The Huffington Post)

    Sunny came up with an equally frank reply: “No, but like the dork I am I keep smelling my shirt! (sic).” (The International Business Times)

    ‘I was a geek, a happy geek.’ Hanging out at the Techno-Swap-Fest. (The Washington Post)

    Geek creates real-life hammer of Thor only he can lift (The Sydney Morning Herald)

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