Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Nerds and Geeks

I've always been comfortable with the term "geek" and uncomfortable with "nerd," but know people who feel oppositely.

When I think of the term geek, I think of it in two types. First, favorably, someone who is unusually enthusiastic about a particular subject; e.g., a carpentry geek, a food geek, or a racing geek. Second, stereotypically, someone who is unusually enthusiastic about fantasy or sci-fi, and is willing to look past all of the implausible elements of their passion and meet a lacking presentation or premise halfway so they enjoy themselves. Neither says anything about the individual's social skills; the most well-spoken attractive person in the world might also have this enthusiasm or passion.

When I think of the term nerd, I think Revenge of the Nerds. Nerd, to me, says less about one's interests and more about their social ability; that they are socially awkward physically, conversationally, or both.

Someone might be a geek, nerd, or both, but when I hear "geek," it comes with little-to-no negative connotation, whereas "nerd" seems negative. Other takes?


  1. I see geeks as enthusiastically into stuff like you said, but I only use the term when it's for tech-y stuff. I think of nerds as being really book smart. I see them both positively. Funny how people have different definitions...

  2. You're a geek; Neal's a nerd :} Love you both :)

  3. Don't forget 'dork'. The way i see it is nerds are studious, booksmart types. Geeks are really into things (can be hobbies or sports or whatever) like you said. and Dorks are the ones with social problems. I guess Revenge of the Dorks didn't have the right ring to it?