Nerd vs. Geek

By Jaxson

Main Difference

The main difference between Nerd and Geek is that the Nerd is a descriptive term, often used pejoratively, indicating that a person is overly intellectual, obsessive, or socially impaired and Geek is a expert or enthusiast obsessed with a hobby or intellectual pursuit.

  • Nerd

    A nerd is a person seen as overly intellectual, obsessive, introverted or lacking social skills. Such a person may spend inordinate amounts of time on unpopular, little known, or non-mainstream activities, which are generally either highly technical, abstract, or relating to topics of science fiction or fantasy, to the exclusion of more mainstream activities. Additionally, many so-called nerds are described as being shy, quirky, pedantic, and unattractive.Originally derogatory, the term “nerd” was a stereotype, but as with other pejoratives, it has been reclaimed and redefined by some as a term of pride and group identity.

  • Geek

    The word geek is a slang term originally used to describe eccentric or non-mainstream people; in current use, the word typically connotes an expert or enthusiast or a person obsessed with a hobby or intellectual pursuit, with a general pejorative meaning of a “peculiar person, especially one who is perceived to be overly intellectual, unfashionable, boring, or socially awkward”.Some use the term self-referentially without malice or as a source of pride, often referring simply to “someone who is interested in a subject (usually intellectual or complex) for its own sake”. Nonetheless, it remains a pejorative, widely used in an abusive manner especially against children and teens who may be more focused on studies, while less popular, fashionable, or socially inclined.The term geek is often used interchangeably with the term nerd, but geek has always had more negative connotations, perhaps due to its earlier association with carnival performers.

  • Nerd (noun)

    A person who is intellectual but generally introverted

  • Nerd (noun)

    One who has an intense, obsessive interest in something.


    “a computer nerd”

    “a comic-book nerd”

  • Nerd (noun)

    An unattractive, socially awkward, annoying, undesirable, and/or boring, person; a dork.

    “dag q|Australian|doofus|dork|dweeb|geek|goober|loser|propeller head|twerp”

    “Only a nerd would wear yellow and blue stripes with green pants.”

    “Nerds seem to have fun with each other, but in a way that causes others to laugh at them.”

    “Why are you hanging out with that nerd?”

  • Nerd (noun)

    A member of a subculture revolving around video games, fantasy and science fiction, comic books and assorted media.

  • Geek (noun)

    A carnival performer specializing in bizarre and unappetizing behavior.

    “I once saw a geek bite the head off a live chicken.”

  • Geek (noun)

    A person who is intensely interested in a particular field or hobby and often having limited or nonstandard social skills. Often used with an attributive noun.

    “I was a complete computer geek in high school, but I get out a lot more now.”

    “Most famous actors are really theater geeks at heart.”

  • Geek (noun)

    An expert in a technical field, particularly one having to do with computers.

    “My laptop’s locked up again. I need a geek.”

    “Do you need a hardware geek or a software geek?”

  • Geek (noun)

    The subculture of geeks; an esoteric subject of interest that is marginal to the social mainstream; the philosophy, events, and physical artifacts of geeks.

  • Geek (noun)

    An unfashionable or socially undesirable person.

    “Why do you hang around with them? They’re just geeks.”

  • Geek (noun)

    A look.

    “Have a geek at this.”

  • Geek (verb)

    To behave geekishly or in a socially awkward manner, especially when under the influence of drugs or other psycho-active substances, and exhibiting such marked characteristics as hyperactivity, repetitiveness, talkativeness, nervousness, irritability, or paranoia.

    “Hey, check out that guy…he’s really geeking out pretty bad.”

  • Geek (verb)

    To look; to peep; to stare about intently.

  • Nerd (noun)

    a foolish or contemptible person who lacks social skills or is boringly studious

    “I was a serious nerd until I discovered girls and cars”

  • Nerd (noun)

    a single-minded expert in a particular technical field

    “a computer nerd”

Oxford Dictionary

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