Monday, May 11, 2009

Nerd, geek, or dork?

I was talking to Haworth, from America a view from over here, and somehow the issue of nerd vs. geek got brought up.

He said he was a geek and I said I was more of a dork.

But when he asked me what the difference was (turns out the word "dork" isn't used often in the UK), I realized I didn’t have a clue.

So, like the insatiable curious person I am, I looked it up. And I have to admit, the answer was a little depressing.

From ask yahoo:
Official definitions for nerd, geek, and dork each use the words "inept" and "foolish." Nerds have the added distinction of being "unattractive." Ouch. While it's hard to argue with the dictionary, we sought out definitions from the Internet at large.

According to, nerds are people of above-average intelligence who place little importance on their appearance. Nerds are often aware of their status, but they don't mind. In fact, many take pride in the putdown, as it means they're smart and not wrapped up in superficial worries.

Geek is a more specific term. Back in the day, geeks worked at carnivals, and (according to the dictionary) "bit the heads off live chickens." Thankfully, the term now has a different connotation. Like nerds, geeks are smart, but they tend to focus more on technology. As Urban Dictionary explains, these are the people you make fun of in high school and later work for as an adult.

Being called a "dork" is the biggest insult of the three. There's no way you can spin it into something positive. After all, even the dictionary writes that dorks are "stupid" people. And to make matters worse, dorks assume they're cool. Oh, and they smell, too.

So, to sum things up, if someone calls you a geek or a nerd, thank them. If someone calls you a dork, consider going back to school and investing in some new deodorant.

Well that’s not a great selection to choose from now is it?

I had always thought of myself as a dork since I tend to like some pretty corny/cheesy things, but I guess I was wrong. I also don’t like the “stupid” connotation dorks have. I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but I’m definitely not stupid. Plus, I’ve never had any notions about being “cool” or had an adverse reaction to deodorant.

“Geek” is just too specific for me. I’m also not concerned with technology. I like my gadgets as much as the next person, but I could care less about the details.

So that leaves us with “nerd.” But that’s not too great an option either because of the assumption of unattractiveness. It’s a compliment and a put down in the same breadth. Who wants that?

There are plenty of fabulous intelligent people out there and I think it’s high time we came up with something better.

Though I like to think of myself as kick asstic, it doesn't quite have the same ring as nerd or geek.

I you have any ideas I'd love to hear them.


  1. I say things like 'Uber' or 'Uber cool' which i would refer back to myself.

    actually i think what we need to do is picj one of the Word Verification words to form a new subculture of people who feel the dont belong to the Nerd, Dork, Geek Spectrum.

    My word today, mulli

  2. I think that's the best idea yet!


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