Geek and Nerd: Defined

With life and technology moving at a breakneck speed, you should be informed of the particular words too often misused.

While most of us (that being YOU) tag people with certain terms, you should be aware of their meanings before you start pinning someone with a label. For anyone that knows, there is a difference between a nerd and a geek.

Directly from is the definition of NERD.

-noun Slang.
1. a stupid, irritating, ineffectual, or unattractive person.
2. an intelligent but single-minded person obsessed with a nonsocial hobby or pursuit: a computer nerd.
Also, nurd.
1960-65, Americanism; obscurely derived expressive formation

By this rationale, all engineers are nerds. Because a lot of them are real pompous know-it-alls that require a good punch in the face. This is good and bad. Lots of bad points to list, but it’s good because of this: If a nerd is well versed in one subject and that subject happens to be computers. You get the idea. A nerd can be someone who’s a programming whiz, a web admin king, general web persona, who is a great at all that technical stuff but gets nervous talking to a real, live girl.

So with that definition in mind, a nerd is:

  • a really annoying know it all
  • incapable of human affection
  • ‘Gary Busey’ ugly
  • someone focused on only one subject and considers themselves a master of the subject

And the definition of GEEK, from

-noun Slang.
1. a peculiar or otherwise dislikable person, esp. one who is perceived to be overly intellectual.
2. a computer expert or enthusiast (a term of pride as self-reference, but often considered offensive when used by outsiders.)
3. a carnival performer who performs sensationally morbid or disgusting acts, as biting off the head of a live chicken.
1915- 20; prob. var. of geck (mainly Scots) fool < D or LG gek

The Geek however, is considered a more balanced person; the geek is still considered dislikable, but because of the size of his/her brainpan. Now, the difference: a geek is the computer expert, it’s not an obsession. Also, most geeks have the ability to talk to the opposite sex without sweating like Robin Williams eating a bucket of fried chicken. Plus, there’s added ability to work with carnie folk, and pull off Alice Cooper like stunts. seriously, I didn’t know that point #3 even applied to being a geek

A geek, by the above definition is:

  • someone a little disliked, only because they’re really smart
  • someone overly intellectual, yet not irritating or annoying
  • an expert at computers, or someone who enjoys the computer and understands it
  • some sort of entertainer that will do weird, fucked up shit. And really, who hasn’t?

Looking at that list you probably want to define yourself as a geek. But look closer, and peel back some of those layers of being a nerd.

A nerd might be antisocial, but the nerd’s products are what all the geeks are supporting. Seriously: A nerd can code and create crazy algorithms, a geek cannot crack it, but needs a program created by nerd to do so. Starting to get it?

Like I said earlier, the nerds are the engineers. They’re the ones creating bucky paper and figuring out new ways to do things, especially in the web world.

Not to say a geek can’t change the world, they can write a piece of code that can efficiently run something faster. But it was the nerd that wrote the entire computer language in the first place.

So, as a nerd, you can sacrifice your personal time and live in a shed, quietly coding, or as a geek, be out in the world meeting and having sex. However: the nerd can become incredibly rich off patents and then have lots of sex.

Which one would you rather be?

Can’t a guy have the best of both worlds?

If you’re on the fence here’s an old article that describes why it’s worth dating a nerd or geek.