Geek VS Nerd

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Geek VS Nerd

Postby eSOANEM » Fri Oct 02, 2009 7:03 pm UTC

I've heard lots of conflicting definitions of these two terms, people who say they're the same and people who separate them and then people who define as being the other way round to other people.

The main definitions I've heard are:

Geek = Nerd = Someone obsessed with technical stuff

Nerd = Geek + Social ineptitude = obsession with technical stuff + social ineptitude

Nerd = Geek + social ineptitude = obsession with pop culture + social ineptitude

Nerd = obsession with technical stuff + social ineptitude Geek = obsession with pop culture

Geek = obsession with pop culture Nerd = 80s term we'd all like to forget




I was wondering what the consensus was here before I adopt a definition as my own.
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Re: Geek VS Nerd

Postby LaserGuy » Fri Oct 02, 2009 8:22 pm UTC

I think this will answer all of your questions.

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Re: Geek VS Nerd

Postby pseudoidiot » Fri Oct 02, 2009 8:32 pm UTC

Yeah or just identify however you want to.

I've got no qualms about calling myself a nerd, but I wouldn't consider myself socially inept or obsessed about anything.
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Re: Geek VS Nerd

Postby Eastwinn » Fri Oct 02, 2009 8:48 pm UTC

Question: Who gives a damn?
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Re: Geek VS Nerd

Postby eSOANEM » Fri Oct 02, 2009 10:05 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:I think this will answer all of your questions.


I've seen that before, some of the definitions I mentioned were derived from my memory of that.


pseudoidiot wrote:Yeah or just identify however you want to.

I've got no qualms about calling myself a nerd, but I wouldn't consider myself socially inept or obsessed about anything.


That's what I've been doing up till now, in fact I've been doing the same as you, identifying myself as a nerd.
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Re: Geek VS Nerd

Postby guale » Fri Oct 02, 2009 10:22 pm UTC

There are so many different definitions and I've never defined a word as something just because everyone else uses it that way, I make up my own definitions. I identify myself as a nerd because I like the sound of the word even though I'm not socially inept, just shy around new people.

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Re: Geek VS Nerd

Postby e^iπ+1=0 » Sat Oct 03, 2009 7:22 am UTC

I label myself as a geek. Nerd would be my second choice. The others sound derogatory. Just my personal feelings...

I agree with pseudoidiot. Identify with whatever name you prefer.
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Re: Geek VS Nerd

Postby Coin » Sat Oct 03, 2009 2:18 pm UTC

Nerd is applicable to anyone with an overshadowing interest. That's why you usually put a prefix on, like computer-nerd or music-nerd.

In my opinion being a nerd does not require one to be socially inept.
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Re: Geek VS Nerd

Postby Sungura » Sat Oct 03, 2009 4:32 pm UTC

I identify as a nerd. But I have three main interests (not all of them "nerdy") and I am certainly not socially inept. Geek to me as a word sounds klutzy, whereas nerd sounds smart. *shrugs* I dunno. I think it depends on your local social circle which term is used.
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Re: Geek VS Nerd

Postby SquareRootofBlue » Sun Oct 04, 2009 8:46 pm UTC

I identify as a geek but when people make distinctions (I've not heard nerd used much at all around my-part of the world, geek seems to be a catch-all for a technical person) nerd is always the more derisory term. I think the venn diagram is very good, unfortunately, whenever geek vs nerd is defined I always find elements of my own personality in both categories.
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Re: Geek VS Nerd

Postby frogman » Sun Oct 04, 2009 9:25 pm UTC

To me, geek = interested in obsessed with sci-fi, anime, stuff like that. Nerd = smart, generally or specifically. Geeky nerd = combination of the two. I define myself as a geeky nerd.
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Re: Geek VS Nerd

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Sun Oct 04, 2009 9:29 pm UTC

Nerd is slightly more academic than geek, but long ago I decided that there was no point in splitting hairs and have since regarded them as synonymous.
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Re: Geek VS Nerd

Postby Hawknc » Mon Oct 05, 2009 6:43 am UTC

I like geek, mostly because it's become a catch-all for the culture (see ThinkGeek, the Society for Geek Advancement, and "geek chic"). We're taking it back, guys.
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Re: Geek VS Nerd

Postby H2SO4 » Mon Oct 05, 2009 6:47 am UTC

I would say the difference between the two has to do with attitude. Like what Hawknc said. I identify myself as a geek, and then when I geek out too much and a situation becomes awkward, I audibly call myself a nerd in a joking manner.
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Re: Geek VS Nerd

Postby TheSkyMovesSideways » Mon Oct 05, 2009 7:12 am UTC

Hawknc wrote:I like geek

"Engigeek"? :wink:
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Re: Geek VS Nerd

Postby Hawknc » Mon Oct 05, 2009 7:18 am UTC

Well, like any good engineer, I picked the right tool for the job. ;) (Or, in this case, blatantly stole it from another engineer a long time ago on a forum far, far away...)
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Re: Geek VS Nerd

Postby TheAmazingRando » Mon Oct 05, 2009 7:25 am UTC

I'd say a geek is anyone with an above-average level of knowledge about or obsession with something. A nerd is a geek that focuses primarily on things like math, science, and computers. It can be broken down further to computer nerd, math nerd, etc.

Music nerds and music geeks are different, though it's possible to be both. A music nerd is obsessed with the technical side of music (music theory, acoustics), while a music geek is obsessed with music in general and may just listen to a whole lot of it or collect it.

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Re: Geek VS Nerd

Postby Giant Speck » Mon Oct 05, 2009 7:45 am UTC

This may be overly simplistic, but this is how I see it:

Nerds use knowledge; geeks live knowledge.
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Re: Geek VS Nerd

Postby LuNatic » Mon Oct 05, 2009 8:04 am UTC

I always viewed nerds as being the smart kids who always aced their grades, read books instead of playing sports, and were always polite to the teacher thus managing to avoid the dreaded 'whole class detentions'. I figured the geeks were those mentally retarded kids, who stuttered when they spoke, had the special helpers, couldn't see a thing without their glasses, who went crazy screaming and crying and running around in circles whenever they were inevitabley picked on by the bullies. I always pictured myself in the former category.
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Re: Geek VS Nerd

Postby folkhero » Mon Oct 05, 2009 9:00 am UTC

guale wrote:I've never defined a word as something just because everyone else uses it that way, I make up my own definitions.

Am I reading this correctly? The whole point of language is that the speakers generally agree on the meanings of words and collections of words. If this statement were literally true, you would just be spouting off random collections of words that are meaningless to anyone other than you. When it comes to word meanings, conformity doesn't mean you sold out, it just means that you figured out how to do it correctly.
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Re: Geek VS Nerd

Postby Magilla » Mon Oct 05, 2009 9:00 am UTC

I'm a geek, or a nerd, or something. And socially inept! YAY!

Edit:
folkhero wrote:
guale wrote:I've never defined a word as something just because everyone else uses it that way, I make up my own definitions.

Am I reading this correctly? The whole point of language is that the speakers generally agree on the meanings of words and collections of words. If this statement were literally true, you would just be spouting off random collections of words that are meaningless to anyone other than you. When it comes to word meanings, conformity doesn't mean you sold out, it just means that you figured out how to do it correctly.

folkhero: You've articulated my feelings about Americans calling whatever the hell it is that they speak "English". :evil:
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Re: Geek VS Nerd

Postby e^iπ+1=0 » Mon Oct 05, 2009 9:07 am UTC

There are Americans and Brits and Australians and others on here. We all speak English. Somehow we all manage to understand each other most of the time. I really don't see your complaint. I could just as well say the same thing about any other place where people speak English and it would be no more right or wrong.
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Re: Geek VS Nerd

Postby Madwolf » Mon Oct 05, 2009 3:22 pm UTC

I generally ID as a nerd, with all my science and technical knowledge (and, to a friend "You are NOT getting me into something as nerdy as firefly based D&D!") Though I use geek in some instances, usually re computers.

I have also heard that the term poindexter is a combination of nerd and geek?

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Re: Geek VS Nerd

Postby canoemoose » Mon Oct 05, 2009 5:24 pm UTC

I've always been under the impression that a nerd is a geek who doesn't realise he/she is one, although no one else seems to have mentioned it. I personally prefer geek to nerd; I'm happy to "label" myself as a geek. Especially in (my part of) the UK, nerd is more offensive than geek.

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Re: Geek VS Nerd

Postby Bartimaeus » Mon Oct 05, 2009 9:43 pm UTC

I always see geek as being obsessive and intelligent, while nerd is both those things but socially inept. I think that a geek can be socially awkward, but not inept,if that makes sense. From the stereotypes I've heard used, it seems that geeks are obsessed with "hipster" type stuff, while nerds are into things like collecting comic books and the like.

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This chart pretty much has it down. I really didn't need to post, actually...

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Re: Geek VS Nerd

Postby steewi » Wed Oct 07, 2009 12:09 am UTC

I also consider this relevant.

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Re: Geek VS Nerd

Postby frogman » Wed Oct 07, 2009 2:27 am UTC

steewi wrote:I also consider this relevant.


Well I see it as EXACTLY opposite that, so um...

Yeah maybe we should consider "nerd" and "geek" to be synonyms.

Ooh relevance to real life here! Today was "nerd day" at my school, and we were supposed to dress up like nerds. A bunch of people wore shorts and suspenders and it kinda annoyed me. The taped glasses and bow ties made me less angry, mostly because bow ties are awesome. However, you could totally tell who was an actual nerd. I wore my thinkgeek "there are 10 types of people" shirt, and my friend wore this shirt that he made that said "Hooray for nerd day" in binary. It was pretty awesome.
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Re: Geek VS Nerd

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Wed Oct 07, 2009 2:36 am UTC

Ooh relevance to real life here! Today was "nerd day" at my school, and we were supposed to dress up like nerds. A bunch of people wore shorts and suspenders and it kinda annoyed me. The taped glasses and bow ties made me less angry, mostly because bow ties are awesome. However, you could totally tell who was an actual nerd. I wore my thinkgeek "there are 10 types of people" shirt, and my friend wore this shirt that he made that said "Hooray for nerd day" in binary. It was pretty awesome.

My school did the exact same thing. I wore a Trek shirt and tied my D&D dice bag to a pants loop. I think I won.
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Re: Geek VS Nerd

Postby frogman » Wed Oct 07, 2009 2:42 am UTC

Sir_Elderberry wrote:
Ooh relevance to real life here! Today was "nerd day" at my school, and we were supposed to dress up like nerds. A bunch of people wore shorts and suspenders and it kinda annoyed me. The taped glasses and bow ties made me less angry, mostly because bow ties are awesome. However, you could totally tell who was an actual nerd. I wore my thinkgeek "there are 10 types of people" shirt, and my friend wore this shirt that he made that said "Hooray for nerd day" in binary. It was pretty awesome.

My school did the exact same thing. I wore a Trek shirt and tied my D&D dice bag to a pants loop. I think I won.

Yeah you would have won (in my mind) if you had been at my school. My friend with the shirt in binary won in my opinion.
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Re: Geek VS Nerd

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Wed Oct 07, 2009 2:52 am UTC

Oh, I didn't mean you guys. I meant I beat all the people at my school who just dressed badly.
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Re: Geek VS Nerd

Postby Velict » Wed Oct 07, 2009 2:53 am UTC

I self-identify as a nerd. I see geeks as more of the comic book-reading, D&D-playing type. Nerds are the guys who talk about things like the validity of Malthus' Principle of Population, whether String Theory is science or voodoo, or if Obama's healthcare plan is economically viable. There is some overlap between the two, obviously, but I know plenty of nerds that aren't geeks.

frogman wrote:Ooh relevance to real life here! Today was "nerd day" at my school, and we were supposed to dress up like nerds. A bunch of people wore shorts and suspenders and it kinda annoyed me. The taped glasses and bow ties made me less angry, mostly because bow ties are awesome. However, you could totally tell who was an actual nerd. I wore my thinkgeek "there are 10 types of people" shirt, and my friend wore this shirt that he made that said "Hooray for nerd day" in binary. It was pretty awesome.


Too many people are actually nerds at my high school (there are some 70-odd people in Calc 3 classes out of 900, for reference) for us to do something like that.

And anyone familiar with nerds knows that the nerd outfit is actually whatever you found on your bedroom floor that morning :lol:

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Re: Geek VS Nerd

Postby frogman » Wed Oct 07, 2009 2:57 am UTC

Velict wrote:And anyone familiar with nerds knows that the nerd outfit is actually whatever you found on your bedroom floor that morning :¡This cheese is burning me!:


Exactly. My friends and I were going to form a nerd passe and jump anyone who was wearing clothing that wasn't really actually nerd but just stereotypically nerdy, but then we got caught up in our school work. There's a reason that we nerds don't rise up and conquer the world, and that's because there are more interesting things to do. Bill Gates, of course, is an exception.
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Re: Geek VS Nerd

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Wed Oct 07, 2009 3:03 am UTC

There's a reason that we nerds don't rise up and conquer the world, and that's because there are more interesting things to do. Bill Gates, of course, is an exception.


You might say that he's an exception, but he's not the only one. Check out the TVTropes "One of Us" page for even more details.
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Re: Geek VS Nerd

Postby Axman » Fri Oct 09, 2009 8:50 pm UTC

OK, so the deal is simple, though obscure. A geek was a person in a carnival side show who had no special deformity or exceptional trait. A geek behaved strangely, willingly. A little deduction tells that a geek is someone who seeks out being weird and highlights it, whereas a nerd is someone who sticks out but doesn't know better.

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Re: Geek VS Nerd

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Fri Oct 09, 2009 8:54 pm UTC

Axman wrote:OK, so the deal is simple, though obscure. A geek was a person in a carnival side show who had no special deformity or exceptional trait. A geek behaved strangely, willingly. A little deduction tells that a geek is someone who seeks out being weird and highlights it, whereas a nerd is someone who sticks out but doesn't know better.

Just because that's the etymology doesn't mean that's what it means now.
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Re: Geek VS Nerd

Postby Axman » Fri Oct 09, 2009 9:06 pm UTC

Oh, I'm no prescriptivist. Like I said, it's obscure, so it's inherently less relevant. But if you wanted to know the fundamental difference, it's that.

And, uh, despite the fact that I know about literal prescription, I'm neither. I'm cool! I get propositioned regularly!

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Re: Geek VS Nerd

Postby Ralith The Third » Sat Oct 10, 2009 1:30 pm UTC

I'm a geek.
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Re: Geek VS Nerd

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Sat Oct 10, 2009 2:02 pm UTC

TheAmazingRando wrote:I'd say a geek is anyone with an above-average level of knowledge about or obsession with something. A nerd is a geek that focuses primarily on things like math, science, and computers. It can be broken down further to computer nerd, math nerd, etc.

Music nerds and music geeks are different, though it's possible to be both. A music nerd is obsessed with the technical side of music (music theory, acoustics), while a music geek is obsessed with music in general and may just listen to a whole lot of it or collect it.

For some reason, I always felt it was the other way round. "Geeks" as technically-minded people, and "nerds" as the more literate types, who read lots of books and are more of the writer/journalist mould.

My favourite term though, for engineering types, is "boffin". I think it's always had an endearing quality, and makes me think of guys in white coats holding spanners, rushing to finish off the death-ray before the Martians arrive.
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Re: Geek VS Nerd

Postby Earlz » Sat Oct 10, 2009 6:58 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:I think this will answer all of your questions.


I've always hated being called a dork.. I haven't heard of dweeb in a while lol I wouldn't like being called one though..

I've always preferred nerd, but I interchange nerd and geek commonly.. my girlfriend usually calls me a nerd, but the fact I have a girlfriend makes me more of a geek than nerd lol
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Re: Geek VS Nerd

Postby strake » Sun Oct 11, 2009 1:24 am UTC

I generally refer to myself as a geek. The distinction between geek and nerd had always confused me terribly -- until I found this Venn diagram.


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