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View Full Version : What is the difference between a Nerd and a Geek?



Tycho
09-20-2007, 07:26 PM
At long last, we might settle this question. I am reprinting part of a conversation I had with JediTricks.

I seek permission to represent both Nerds and Geeks for this discussion.

I would debate that there is a difference in definitions between "nerd" and "geek."

Best Buy promotes people presumably handy with computer repair as "tech geeks" (their Geek Squad). These people are (presumably) smart.

Yes, a geek may be socially inept, but they are still smart.

It is true that this might translate to being smart in so far as remembering trivial facts from fictional fantasy: such as Optimus Prime was once Orion Pax. You had to watch probably only 1 or 2 very specific episodes to know that (or be plugged in to fandom outlets) - and remember it from 1984.

Now isn't a nerd just a fanboy? A nerd would know the Orion Pax reference, perhaps. Or they might just be socially inept. But is there any basis in conventional language to promote the nerd as being SMART? (There might be. I just don't have the reference myself.)

So therefore, if you want to talk about your fandom, should you not refer to your "inner-nerd," and your technological intelligence as your "inner geek?"

It may often be possible for us to be both Nerds and a Geeks, but those characteristics refer to different parts of our personalities.

What do you think?

Qui-Long Gone
09-20-2007, 07:59 PM
I think that I'm accurate by saying that a Nerd or Geek is someone who will take time to respond to this thread.


I.e. .....like me.:yes:

pbarnard
09-20-2007, 09:39 PM
Answer this simple question, you'll know which it is...no explanation or reasoning needed...just first impulse.


Get Ready.











Who wins in a fight: Lord Voldemort or Darth Vader?







Nerds=Voldemort
Geeks=Vader

El Chuxter
09-20-2007, 09:41 PM
Voldemort would mop the floor with Vader. Sorry, I like Vader. But he'd probably just cry about something.

Seriously, though an immortal wizard of unimaginable power vs a "mere" Sith Lord, especially when he's missing most of his limbs and restricted to a tin can?

stillakid
09-20-2007, 10:45 PM
Nerds are more sci-fi with a techy edge, like those who get into nerdy things like Star Trek. Most nerds are gawky in appearance and never seem to have fully moved beyond puberty. If you have any episodes of Star Trek recorded on anything (DVD, VHS, etc), you are a Nerd.

Geeks are more into sci fi stories that are more classical in nature and don't concentrate on being techy, like Star Wars. Geeks can come in all shapes and sizes, but tend to be physically more mature than standard nerds.

Dorks are into Swords and Horses fantasy nonsense, like Dungeons & Dragons, Lord of the Rings, and playing strategy games like RISK after age 12. Dorks tend to be overweight, wear black Tshirts that are too small for them, and never really look anyone in the eye.

If someone is into all of them, I think that the term is "Celibate." :)

2-1B
09-20-2007, 11:09 PM
Look at stillacomic up there with the three paragraph setup to the punchline. lol lol lol

Tycho
09-21-2007, 12:28 AM
I have to disagree with StillaComic (Geeze Caesar - I think that nickname just might stick! Good one - sorry Brian - it's definitely funny)

While I'll have to take a while longer to formulate my final definition of a Dork, I don't think the genre they're into establishes them. I think it's how a Nerd or Geek goes about expressing their enthusiasm for their interests. They ARE largely unaware of how they are perceived, possibly (Dorks) - but not necessarily. Some may enjoy being purposely eccentric and socially misfit. I'm not positive that I fit a classic definition of a Dork myself, but I'd like to. However I am not into RPGs or even video games, or board games. However, I could see a Dork arrive at a college fraternity party at 11pm and try and recruit people to play Yahtze. What a Dorky thing to do! Like I said, a person might be sincerely interested in playing Yahtze (or Scrabble) or something - at a DJ'd party nevertheless - but another Dork in the same situation might do it just to be a precoscious instigator - knowing full-well this would not be the Yahtze crowd. The Instigator type would follow that inquery up with "I know: want to watch C-SPAN?" (Well, there I might be a real Dork, because I actually WOULD like to watch C-SPAN - until I can meet a girl for myself at the party and pretend like I'm a politician and she's my intern :D )

But back to Nerd / Geek differences:

StillaComic thinks Nerds have the techy-edge. I say it's Geeks. Who wants to weigh in on this important issue?

BTW: either can be gawky in appearance. Some are unaware and unschooled in hygene, while others simply just don't care. This is not a condition exclusive to Nerds and Geeks though. A "Man's Man" could just as soon leave the public restroom without washing his hands. Indiana Jones doesn't make a habit of shaving or tucking in his shirt (depends on the occasion though).

Lord Malakite
09-21-2007, 01:10 AM
While I'll have to take a while longer to formulate my final definition of a Dork, I don't think the genre they're into establishes them.

A dork is someone who has to "take a while longer" to "formulate a final definition of a Dork." :D

Dar' Argol
09-21-2007, 06:01 AM
Nerds are more sci-fi with a techy edge, like those who get into nerdy things like Star Trek. Most nerds are gawky in appearance and never seem to have fully moved beyond puberty. If you have any episodes of Star Trek recorded on anything (DVD, VHS, etc), you are a Nerd.

Geeks are more into sci fi stories that are more classical in nature and don't concentrate on being techy, like Star Wars. Geeks can come in all shapes and sizes, but tend to be physically more mature than standard nerds.

Dorks are into Swords and Horses fantasy nonsense, like Dungeons & Dragons, Lord of the Rings, and playing strategy games like RISK after age 12. Dorks tend to be overweight, wear black Tshirts that are too small for them, and never really look anyone in the eye.

If someone is into all of them, I think that the term is "Celibate." :)


Hey . . I'm all of those . . . I'm not celibate . . . no really . . .I'm not . . . I have kids . . .

I usually think of a Nerd as someone who is intelligent, usually very good at some math or science. Most likely a career as an accountant or scientist. Something along that line. More about brain power and most likely laking in social aspects. Sometimes it may be said that they are "book smart and common sense stupid". Probably also sports what could be called the "classic nerd look", glasses, lanky, high water pants.

A Geek to me would be someone who is passionate about something that most people are not. Computers, Movies (Star Wars, LOTR, etc), Swords and role play. Still intelligent but not as much brain power as the Nerd. They are a less socially awkward, and unless you would see them involved in their "obsession" they may appear somewhat normal.

That's just how I see it . . now the grey area that comes between those two . . .that's shades of Dork . . not quite Nerd . . not quite Geek. Of course geek has become more sheik then when I was a closet geek. We use to get our butts kicked for being geek/nerdy. Now it seems like its cool . . . . . when did that happen???

Qui-Long Gone
09-21-2007, 06:17 PM
A Geek to me would be someone who is passionate about something

I think that's a good point....I was thinking the opposite, that a Geek is the genius and the Nerd is into obscure hobbies...but when you hear Geek as a verb it's usually "I'm geeked about *such and such*" which implies a passion..whereas you would never hear "I'm nerds about *such and such*"....

Then again, Nerd gets a candy...and that much sugar can produce a type of temporary passionate state (called a sugar rush)....

???

bigbarada
09-21-2007, 06:25 PM
I always just figured that a nerd was a socially-inept geek.

A computer geek can know a lot about computers but still be somewhat functional in a social environment. A computer nerd would know a lot about computers but would be completely anti-social and an embarrassment at a party.

2-1B
09-21-2007, 06:27 PM
Dar if it's halfway between Nerd and Geek, it should be a Nork, not a Dork. lol

Kidhuman
09-21-2007, 06:47 PM
The difference is 6 kicks to the gut behind the playground.

Dar' Argol
09-22-2007, 03:07 AM
Dar if it's halfway between Nerd and Geek, it should be a Nork, not a Dork. lol

Or should it be Nerk???? Maybe Geerd . . . huh . . HUH . . . . I think I'm on to something . . . I'm not sure what though . .

Bel-Cam Jos
09-22-2007, 10:44 AM
Nerds gots smarts. See the Revenge of the... films as proof. :dubioussource: :D They may also be inept or goofy, but not necessarily. Once, I figured I was a nerd.

Geeks are socially awkward (I won't say "inept" on this one), but no level of intelligence is naturally inferred. I may or may not have been one o' these.

Terms such as "dork," "spaz," or "freak" or more based on unusual behavior and attitude than knowledge of weapons used by characters (DL-44 for Han, Dragonov sniper rifles for Cobra Officers, Sting for Frodo or Bilbo, et al) or obscure trivia (Lucas' "1138" motif is a homage to James Joyce's use of "1134" in his novels, most notably Finnegans Wake), however sharing said info may result in such a label. :o : pushesglassesback:

2-1B
09-22-2007, 11:30 AM
Or should it be Nerk???? Maybe Geerd . . . huh . . HUH . . . . I think I'm on to something . . . I'm not sure what though . .

NerkNork is my vote. ;)

Mr. JabbaJohnL
09-22-2007, 01:28 PM
I always thought geeks knew too much about sci-fi or pop culture, nerds knew too much about math or science, and dorks knew too little about fashion or common sense.

TeeEye7
09-22-2007, 06:01 PM
This, from dictionary.com:


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.

[Origin: 1960–65, Americanism; obscurely derived expressive formation]

geek Slang.
–noun
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.

dork
–noun Slang.
1. a stupid or ridiculous person; jerk; nerd.
2. Vulgar. penis.
[Origin: 1960–65; expressive coinage; cf. similar phonetic elements in dolt, dong3, jerk1, etc.]

El Chuxter
09-23-2007, 12:21 PM
After giving the matter too much serious thought, I have come to this conclusion:

A geek prefers Queen.

A nerd prefers Genesis.

A dork prefers Rush.

A dweeb prefers Pink Floyd.

Tycho
09-23-2007, 01:15 PM
What's a dweeb, El Chuxter?

I prefer Queensryche, but many of their fans who are about 10 years older than me really get into Pink Floyd (not so much with me).

I've considered that I may not be any of the above, but a psychotic instead.

Perhaps a psychotic with multiple personality disorder can think some of his personas are nerds or geeks, but not really be one of them - but a narcissistic psychotic with homicidal tendancies instead?

Dar' Argol
09-24-2007, 06:05 AM
Dweeb!?!?!? HA HAHA!! I havent heard that word in YEARS!!!

I don't think their is any clear cut answer here. Especially since being a nerd or geek seems to be the new cool thing here in recent years. Its almost blurred the line on the social outcasts. It was never the in thing to be geek and you never advertised it.

Even the dictionary definition I don't think is accurate. Although I did not know there was a vulgar meaning to dork . . thanks for that one TE7!!

JediTricks
09-24-2007, 08:55 PM
Dweeb!?!?!? HA HAHA!! I havent heard that word in YEARS!!!You think that's an oldie? I used "spaz" today emailing Deoxy (I was a spaz for not noticing her Myspace avatar is 3 stormtrooper figures doing hear no evil/see no evil/speak no evil sooner).

Dar' Argol
09-24-2007, 09:22 PM
Spaz!?!?! Who even uses that word anymore . . . geez JT, we are showing our age here a bit . . .

El Chuxter
09-24-2007, 09:25 PM
A nerd is someone who comes to SSG and responds to a thread started by Tycho.

A geek is someone who comes to SSG and either reads and doesn't respond, or doesn't click on the thread to begin with.

:p

DarthQuack
09-24-2007, 10:15 PM
Nerds are smart, Geeks are obsessed with things. Now who wants to break out the boardgame of Dweebs, Geeks, and Weirdos? I get first dibs on the Dipstick!

Kidhuman
09-24-2007, 10:40 PM
I get first dibs on the Dipstick!


Isnt that your Motto?

JediTricks
09-25-2007, 03:17 PM
Nerds are smart, Geeks are obsessed with things. Now who wants to break out the boardgame of Dweebs, Geeks, and Weirdos? I get first dibs on the Dipstick!"Dipstick"? What are you, Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane??? (And that, friends, is how a geek responds to that.)

Mr. JabbaJohnL
09-25-2007, 06:43 PM
After giving the matter too much serious thought, I have come to this conclusion:

A geek prefers Queen.

A nerd prefers Genesis.

A dork prefers Rush.

A dweeb prefers Pink Floyd.
Pink Floyd is my favorite band, so I guess I'm a dweeb. Queen is in my top four, so I'm also a geek but less so. I hate Genesis and Rush so at least I'm not a nerd or a dork. :p

Tycho
09-25-2007, 06:48 PM
What about "twerps?" What are they?

JediTricks
09-25-2007, 07:09 PM
Small, annoying, stupid people -- which has absolutely nothing to do with this conversation, ya little twerp.

2-1B
09-26-2007, 11:41 PM
What's a twerp ?

Bel-Cam Jos
09-27-2007, 11:16 PM
What's a twerp ?

What about "twerps?" What are they?Well, in the Star Wars universe, Han might consider Rodians or various bounty hunters or miscellaneous scum and villainy "twerps." In out world, a twerp is a punk, a jerk, an idiot, and/or miscreant, I think.

Tycho
01-22-2008, 05:51 PM
Did we ever conclusively decide:

what is a nerd?

what is a geek?

what is a dork?

And there are minority breeds like twerps, doofuses, dweebs, etc. which were never classified.

JON9000
01-23-2008, 10:45 AM
Sadly, I don't think one has to be socially inept to qualify as a NERD or GEEK. All you have to be these days is "smart". Anti-intellectualism is so rampant in America that no less a human being than Al Gore was basically branded one by the so-called liberal news media. Nevermind discussing the merits/liabilities of an actual position, we can show much more disrespect to voters by meta-analyzing how candidates appear to them as a "policy wonk", which is newspeak for "nerd".

It is a sad commentary on our society that classical virtues like knowledge and erudition are so readily equated with being socially inept, while the coarser passions of binge drinking, violence, obsession with cars/sports/celebrity culture/physical beauty are celebrated.

That being said, smart or dumb, obsessively playing D&D makes you a "tw*t". So does being an adult and collecting action figures. :nerv:

JediTricks
01-24-2008, 10:40 PM
Since when did one need to be smart to be a geek? You just gotta remember a bunch of useless facts (sci-fi, sports, stamps, whatever) and bite heads off chickens.

Deoxyribonucleic
01-25-2008, 12:40 AM
we can show much more disrespect to voters by meta-analyzing how candidates appear to them as a "policy wonk", which is newspeak for "nerd".



that is the best new nickname I've heard in a long time...a long time!:thumbsup:

I hope you don't mind if I use it.

Dar' Argol
01-25-2008, 06:23 AM
Since when did one need to be smart to be a geek? You just gotta remember a bunch of useless facts (sci-fi, sports, stamps, whatever) and bite heads off chickens.

So now I gotta start biting the heads of chickens???? Man . . . ok, which one is regular and which is extra crispy??

JON9000
01-25-2008, 09:28 AM
that is the best new nickname I've heard in a long time...a long time!:thumbsup:

I hope you don't mind if I use it.

Oh, heavens, by all means. I think it is a part of the political vernacular post Gore, so you certainly aren't cribbing from me!

El Chuxter
01-25-2008, 09:32 AM
Fozzie Bear is a policy wonka wonka wonka.

Deoxyribonucleic
01-25-2008, 01:37 PM
Fozzie Bear is a policy wonka wonka wonka.

This is the first post I saw this morning, I will have a great day :thumbsup:

2-1B
01-25-2008, 01:40 PM
'Ox, just don't give him his AT-AT drivers back. :thumbsup:

JEDIpartner
01-25-2008, 02:50 PM
What is the difference between a Nerd and a Geek?

About 12 parsecs.

JediTricks
01-25-2008, 10:07 PM
"Your face!" is the correct answer. "Your face."