Saturday, March 15, 2008

Geeks Vs. Nerds

I had a conversation with a co-worker the other day that got me thinking. I'm not sure how we got on the topic, but he was adamant that he was a geek and not a nerd. I disagreed because the word "geek" has negative connotations for me--I can't help but think of disgusting carnival acts where some poor chicken gets its head bitten off. For me, a nerd is someone who lacks social skills but is smart and interesting and I find that kinda sexy. A geek is socially awkward too, but is also weird and icky. Liam disagreed and said the complete opposite is true. So I consulted my favourite online dictionary but now the waters seem only muddier because the words appear to be interchangeable:

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.

geek
–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.

Hey, at least I knew about the chicken part.

So, is there a consensus on this? Am I the only one who thinks geek=bad, nerd=good?

5 comments:

Guy Hosenpeter said...

I'm afraid I must disagree with you...geeks are hot, nerds are not!

Mindy said...

Hey grammar snob.. it's KNEW, not new... and I think I disagree too. I've never heard of the carnival thing.. isn't that a "freak"??? I think you are making sh*t up. Nerds to me are the dudes with taped glasses.. circa Little Shop of Horrors... Screech from Saved by the Bell (Damn I'm old). Geeks to me are dictionary definition #2... we have referred to Rick H. as a "cool geek".

kendall said...

Thanks for the head's up, Mindy. My Honey usually proofreads for me, but he's been slacking off.

So, I guess I really am off base on this one...I need to brush up on my slang, apparently...

Katie said...

is it possible that they are just synonyms?
and for the geek reference to the carnival thing, look at Geek Love by Katherine Dunn. great book.

psychsarah said...

I always thought that being a geek was better than being a nerd... I have often proclaimed myself a "psych geek" with some pride...