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geek v. nerd

  MS_Bob

in my opinion, nerd is a derogatory term-- it's someone who doesn't fit in with other people well.

Geeks tend to be interested in something, but are willing/able to converse about it in various forms.

Nerds tend to be the 'basement dwellers', the people that "are really smart, but are better to keep away from paying customers".

Note, these aren't necessarily pop-culture references, computer related, or anything else-- I've known farming nerds in my life. computer nerds are common (they lend themselves to it), but every group has their fringe "nerds"

On the other hand, I've known medieval, computer, database, mst3k, military, music, and many other geeks, most of which lead fairly productive lifes.



Responses:


  The Evil Black Marble

Social ineptitude does seem to be prerequisite for nerddom. Being smart is sometimes connotated, sometimes not.

The origins of the words themselves may give some clue. I was over in a database just now that suggested that "Geek" is a form of "Gecke" which from Shakespeare's time has meant a stupid, foolish person. By the 1900s it also mean obnoxious. And by 1920 it meant someone who bit the head off a chicken. So...yeah.


  The Evil Black Marble

Meanwhile, some say that "Nerd" comes to us from a Dr. Seuss book, and some say it's a form of "Mortimer Snerd" but in the end, by the 1950s, it meant a "Square," an uncool person.

It's been noted that very few people 'become' nerds, once they're an adult.

So perhaps the real division may be point at which an enthusiasm for something, be it math, computers, or, uh, farming; becomes an unhealthy obsession.


  The Evil Black Marble

If it happens during the formative teen years, for whatever reason, be it genuine interest, lack of hygene, nerdy parents...then that person becomes a nerd. They lose out on social skills that normally develop during that time, but gain skills and knowledge in their choosen field beyond that of mere mortals.

For a geek, the enthusism never reaches that point, or at least it holds off until the person is an adult. So they get at least some of the social skills, but never get that extra spark of genius the nerd does. It's a tradeoff. Generally, the geek will turn people off, but it's likely to be because they won't shut up about their adventure at the trading card convention, and not because they lack social graces in general.


  The Evil Black Marble

Well, I think that's my final word on this. I'm off to the game grid to work off some aggression on some nerdy blue and red marbles.

Any further inquiries on this topic will be pushed off a steep cliff.


Pac-Man  

How's that going to happen if you're down in the game grid?


  The Evil Black Marble

I'll have an intern do it.




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