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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > GEEK vs NERD    

GEEK vs NERD



ninon100
Russian Federation

GEEK vs NERD
 
Is there any difference between these two? Please help! :) 

27 Dec 2016      



douglas
United States

They are mostly interchangeable, but some people try to differentiate them. 
 
Nerd used to mean the "un-cool" people in school that were big into Star Trek and tech gadgetry (brainiacs) whereas geek could also be used for the really strange guys that you figured could end up being a mass-murder some day.  These days, thanks to movies and marketing, the terms are basically interchangeable and have lost most of their negative connotations (nerd moreso than geek).
 
Cheers,
Douglas
 

28 Dec 2016     



cunliffe
United Kingdom

Agree with Douglas, more or less, except I would say that geeks can be exceptionally intelligent, whereas to call someone a nerd implies that they are also thick... So, I would say a computer geek, not nerd. Another small difference, there is the adjective ´geeky ´ but I ´ve never heard ´nerdy ´.

28 Dec 2016     



Minka
Slovenia

Wikipedia disagrees with you about "nerdy" and I also believe I have heard it quite a few times.
 
(Nerd (adjective: nerdy) is a descriptive term, often used pejoratively, indicating a person that is overly intellectual, obsessive, or lacking social skills.) 

28 Dec 2016     



ninon100
Russian Federation

Very interesting and very subtle :) Thank you!

28 Dec 2016     



ldeloresmoore
China

I think the only other distinction I would make is that Nerd is more associated (to me, anyway) with being exceptionally intelligent and completely lacking in social skills.  
 
Geek (again, to me) is more associated with being exceptionally intelligent, especially where technology is concerned, and either may or may not have a varying degree of social skills.
 
My son is somewhat geeky, in that he ´s very tech-savvy, but he is no way a nerd -- he ´s very social, makes friends easily, has a wide range of friends and acquaintances.  

28 Dec 2016     



douglas
United States

I agree with Idelores. 
 
Cunliffe: you´ve got me wondering if there isn´t a BE/AE thing going on here too.

29 Dec 2016     



cunliffe
United Kingdom

A straw poll among all of my friends (two, to be precise) found there to be no difference between these terms. I ´d still rather be called a geek than a nerd. Eeh by gum, what ´s the world coming to? 
And don´t forget ´anorak´ - actually, I wonder if that is on the way out, possibly because there are fewer anoraks around these days, as instead of train and plane spotting etc, all the anoraks are geekily or nerdily at their tablets? 

29 Dec 2016     



douglas
United States

We don ´t use "anorak" in the USA.
 

29 Dec 2016     



Jayho
Australia

In my experience / opinion:
 
- A nerd at school: usually male, quite smart, excels in maths and science, super conservative clothing, ´shaggy´ hairstyle that covers eyes, socially uncomfortable around other people and especially the opposite sex, hangs around with other nerds playing online strategy games
 
- A nerd at work: usually male, usually works in IT or in a role where most of the daily job involves a computer and limited requirement for interpersonal skills, super conservative clothing, uncomfortable around opposite sex and generally does not attend work social functions unless fancies someone at work, single (and if male may still live with mother/visits mother regularly because she does his washing and cooks him meals)
 
- A geek at school: is just like everyone else (except nerds) and knows everything about a certain topic and loves to share it with whoever will listen, will buy/wear clothing or other collectibles for that area of expertise if applicable.
 
- A geek at work: as above, and loves to attend social functions and rave on about their passion to anyone who will listen
 
I don´t see the terms as interchangeable although sometimes they are used interchangeably.
 
Can a nerd be a geek and vice versa? Although a nerd may have expertise on something, they don´t usually promote it as they are quite introverted. You have to drag it out of them. A geek may be, but need not be, smart. A geek is usually quite sociable but can show some nerdy qualities and I think this may be why the term can be interchangeable.
 
Nerdy and geeky are both adjectives that are used in my neck of the woods.
 
Well, just my two cents worth.
 
Anorak - have never heard of that slang meaning. To me, an anorak is a British word for a rain coat.
 
Cheers
 
Jayho

29 Dec 2016     



almaz
United Kingdom

Yup, nerdy and geeky are common enough in the UK too – and are often interchangeable.
 
And just to give it a seasonal twist, nerdy is also how we pronounce Ne´erday (New Year´s Day) in Scotland. For years, my brother took great delight in inviting his anorak-y, video-game-fixated neighbour round for a "Ne´erday dram".

29 Dec 2016     

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