Saturday, May 14, 2011

A nerd by any other name...

People of my sort are often called names like "nerd", "geek", or "dork". I feel like my sort of people have long ago owned these words and made them a part of our identity. I am a nerd. To say otherwise is to insult me. Most people don't get that, because they don't understand what I mean by nerd.

My friends and I had a discussion about the meaning of these words the other day. As students at one of the most nerdy, geeky, and dorky schools in the nation, we feel we have a pretty good grasp of the sort of people who would use these words. So now, you're definitive guide.

Nerd: To be a nerd requires one thing and one thing only: intelligence. Generally, people think of nerds in terms of mathy subjects, but that's not entirely necessary. My little sister is a nerd and she is an archaeology student. A nerd is simply someone who is very smart. Thus, telling me I'm not a nerd is an insult.

Geek: I am a nerd, but I'm also a Star Wars geek. What do I mean by that? Well think about the phrase "geek out", as in "I discovered Jean-Francios has read most of the books in the Star Wars Extended Universe, and we geeked out over Star Wars for an hour." So by geek out I mean we discussed Star Wars as experts, as people who are obsessed with it. And to many that's what a geek is, someone who is obsessed with something. So though people generally think of Science Fiction and Fantasy as geeky things, a person can actually be a football geek. Granted, to be a football geek isn't enough to know team names and paint your chest. You've got to be an expert. You've got to know the stats and the like.

Dork: This is the word you use to describe someone who is on the socially awkward side of things. Someone sort of like Screech in Saved By the Bell or like the guys in the Big Bang Theory. So even though I'm a nerd and a geek, I'm not a dork. However, many nerds and geeks are dorks. Such is the way of things.

So those are my definitions. Do you guys disagree? Is there a type of person I'm missing that should be added on to this list? What do you think?

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