Geek & Nerd: What’s the Difference?


I have a definition of geek and nerd that I admit did not come from anywhere but my own word usage. I’m curious to see if what I think is in common with what others do. I’ve asked some friends and done some googling and my definition seems to be consistent… but where did it come from? :)

Please respond and explain what the difference between a geek and a nerd is to you.

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I am a nobody. Or, rather, I'm a nobody who has all spiritual blessings because my life is redeemed by the work of the risen Jesus. He is everything I need. Hear that, heart?!? HE IS EVERYTHING I NEED!

One Response to Geek & Nerd: What’s the Difference?

  1. Nicholas says:

    Ok, I’ll give it a shot.

    So, a geek used to be a person who did gross or painful tricks at the carnival, such as putting a long needle through their arm or tongue, hanging from wires attached to rings in their back, etc. It could have also referred to the oddities that traveled with the carnival, such as the bearded woman or “Siamese twins.” Today, a geek is most often someone who is passionate about a topic and knows a great deal of information on that topic, whether or not that topic is generally useful. This could lead to the average, normal person viewing the geek with curiosity, much like the original carnies would have been.

    Nerds are like geeks, in that they are passionate about topics and know vast quantities of information regarding those topics. The topics, however, will tend to be more technical in nature, or require a skill to be invested in.

    While a geek might be a fan of Firefly, Game of Thrones, Clothing Trends of the 1950’s, etc… a nerd will more likely be a fan of pathfinding algorithms, the International Space Station, or playing the violin. You can be a “Computer Geek,” but if you’re a nerd who likes computers, you’re probably going to be more specific. Computer Nerd is not going to be as common a label amongst other nerds as “Java Nerd” or “Atari Nerd.” As a geek, you’re more likely to be labeled as a Geek of something somewhat general, or uselessly specific, ie: a “Comic Book Geek,” “Apple Geek,” “Manga Geek,” etc.

    Nerds are skilled geeks. Geeks are free-spirited nerds.

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