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Geeks vs. Nerds Definition

Updated on April 12, 2013

Geeks and Nerds

There seems to be a common misconception when it comes to classifying the difference between a nerd, geek, and dork. I for one am a geek, a proud geek at that, and I absolutely hate when people lump me into one of the two other categories.

Before I begin a comprehensive breakdown of each, let me start with some similarities and why it may be hard to distinguish between the three:

- Most nerds, geeks, and dorks are not very popular (Although, somehow it's slowly becoming trendy to be nerdy, geeky, and dorky.) For some reason or another, these individuals are a little "off" and don't conform to the traditional standards of life. In fact, they are usually deemed unpopular and are sort of the outcasts of society. Sometimes geeks are the exception, which will be discussed in further detail.

- They each have a lot of knowledge on a quirky topic that may seem a little outrageous or boring to the average person. I mean, who wants to know that The Enterprise was a class D galaxy starship when Picard assumed command? Or who really cares?

- Many of dorks, geeks and nerds cross-categories, or in other words, overlap into another group. For instance, a nerd will possess some geeky qualities, or a geek may dress dorky and may be shy people. Although the crossing over or overlapping is quite common, usually each individual has a dominant affiliation with one of the aforementioned groups.

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Classic NerdPossible Nerd
Classic Nerd
Classic Nerd
Possible Nerd
Possible Nerd

Nerds Definition

The Nerds: According to Webster's Dictionary a nerd is someone who is stupid, irritating, and unattractive. Now that's a cold description dotcha think? When I think of a nerd I think of a go-getter, someone who strives to be excellent in whatever they want to achieve. Nerds are usually successful.

More often than not, nerds are bookworms, library hounds, and love to achieve academic honors. I would dare say that Tiger Woods is a nerd based on his overall drive and self-motivation (especially in golf perhaps sex!). However, since I don't personally know him, it's hard to tell.

The stereotypical nerd would be Steve Urkel from Family Matters, although I'm not talking about his appearance or his annoying laugh. His academic performance and scientific experiments are true nerd-like qualities.

Geek Definition

The Geeks: Geeks are typically smart but usually don't have the internal drive like nerds. They are more interested in creative works dealing with science fiction/fantasy, computers, video games, comic books and graphic novels, and the internet.

Basically, find any Star Wars fanatic and there you go, geek. They generally have ample amounts of information concerning their interests and go into insane detail about it. As mentioned earlier, sometimes geeks are not thrown into the outcasts of society. There are many 'closet geeks' who tend to only talk about their hobbies with other geeks who share a common interest.

Classic Dork

Cute dork...dork nonetheless
Cute dork...dork nonetheless

Dork Definition

The Dorks: It would be tough to be deemed a dork because many times the person is unaware of the fact that they are dorks. Additionally, the term usually has a negative connotation. A dork is someone who is socially inept and tends to be awkward in public. They may not dress appropriately or have horrible hygiene.

Whatever the case may be, dorks represent the typical stereotype associated with all the groups (key word, associated) wearing the banged up glasses and mismatched outfits. If the person is aware of the fact that they are a dork then it may be a beneficial.

For instance, if they go out in public knowing that they are socially inept or awkward, they may feel inclined to do whatever it is they want, a 'do what you want' attitude about life.

Geeks and Nerds - Who Cares?

In the end, who really cares about the geeks, the nerds, and the dorks? I mean, aren't they social outcasts anyway? Don't they have problems with social skills or interpersonal communication?

Well, I care for one. Besides it's the geeks, the nerds, and even the dorks who think up crazy shit for you nonbelievers out there. It's people like us who came up with this geeky or nerdy technology so that you can read this mind-boggling article!

So listen up! There are distinct differences between nerds, geeks, and dorks. Although it may be difficult to distinguish the difference at first glance, it's definitely there. So, if for some reason I happen to ramble on and on about how the Lord of the Rings Trilogy cannot possibly compare to the epic we all call Star Wars, please do not respond by saying, "What a dork!" Have some respect!

Nerd/Geek/Dork poll

So what are you?

See results


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    • suregeek profile image

      suregeek 6 years ago from

      That dork is hot! :) I am a geek, although sometimes I can be nerdy!

    • drej2522 profile image

      drej2522 6 years ago from Augusta, GA

      I agree Nikki...more people should know the difference between the big 3. Thanks for stopping by fellow geek!

    • nikki_m profile image

      nikki_m 6 years ago from Kansas City, Missouri

      Loved this hub. I am a geek to my very core. I too hate it when I am called a nerd. I may be part dork (on my mother's side), but I am not a nerd! More people need to be taught this valuable bit of information!

    • drej2522 profile image

      drej2522 8 years ago from Augusta, GA

      umm, I think you're the NFL nerd, Wave! Thanks for posting!

    • wavegirl22 profile image

      Shari 8 years ago from New York, NY

      drj - this one was great. . sure showed me a different side of you. .and to think all this time I thought you were a geek and now I know you are just a a jocky nfl nerd. . lol

      Loved this one;)

    • drej2522 profile image

      drej2522 8 years ago from Augusta, GA

      mike ~ Thanks for your post! And don't be too hard on yourself. (whispers) I think geeks are the coolest of the three.

    • Mike Lickteig profile image

      Mike Lickteig 8 years ago from Lawrence KS USA

      drej, this was an interesting read. I guess I fell into the geek category--hopefully I'm a little harder to classify now (but perhaps not).

      Thanks for letting us know where we stand.

    • drej2522 profile image

      drej2522 8 years ago from Augusta, GA

      thank you, thank you. And from the looks of it, you are probably a nerd as well. A Nerdy Geek! Awesome combo! (winks)

    • H.C Porter profile image

      Holly 8 years ago from Lone Star State

      This is a great Hub. I have been called all of the above, now I can let people know to re-evaluate their comments. I suppose I am a Geek... But I am also an academic overachiever who was in Honors Society, and Editor of the Yearbook and went to Harvard. I know way too much about people/bands such as Bob Dylan or The Beatles. Although I do live in reality- I frequent in my own little world that I have in my mind, where I paint, take pictures and write. I always knew I wasn’t apart of the 'cool' crowd, but I didn’t consider myself a geek until later. Nerd? Dork? Not too sure- but I suppose I am definitely apart of the Geek Society... Thanks for this Brilliant Breakdown of the lower parts of the 'Social Standing Pyramid'.

    • drej2522 profile image

      drej2522 8 years ago from Augusta, GA

      Thanks Gals I appreciate it!

      Paradise~It's all right, we are all better for it! Who wants to be normal anyway?

      Wren ~ (winks) I think you're in the cool geek/nerd category.

      MOW ~ Thanks for the kind words, especially coming from you. I really enjoy your writing as well! And, yes...we always evolve and change and, on occasion, do the unexpected. Damn humans! :P

    • myownworld profile image

      myownworld 8 years ago from uk

      Did I tell you before how much I love your writing style? (I think I did...) Anyway, I really enjoyed reading this....and it made me laugh too.

      I believe though that no person is ever just 'one' thing (geek, dork, extrovert, introvert etc.) and that you never know when they'd end up doing something totally uncharacteristic and in the process, completely taking us by surprise! ;)

    • wrenfrost56 profile image

      wrenfrost56 8 years ago from U.K.

      Another great hub chris, I am geek without a doubt and like you are very proud of that fact. I could be a little more nerd like though, I could do with a bit more drive. :)

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 8 years ago from Upstate New York

      Hah! Poor folk, we...

    • drej2522 profile image

      drej2522 8 years ago from Augusta, GA

      Internetwriter ~ thanks for you kind comments, and, yes...unfortunately you fall into the majority. Many people generalize between the three. Thanks for 'respecting'. (winks)

      Blondepoet ~ awww, Deb. I think all three groups are usually intelligent. Hrmm, I should've thrown that into the dork description as well.

      And yes, I believe you are very intelligent! :)

    • blondepoet profile image

      blondepoet 8 years ago from australia

      You know that I am an intelligent woman don't you Dre? But I just knew I should have smiled for the cute dork pic...:)

    • Internetwriter62 profile image

      Internetwriter62 8 years ago from Marco Island, Florida

      Excellent Hub Drej2522, I really enjoyed it. You write very well. I never knew there were differences and what those differences are. I must confess I was a loner in high school,so I guess people must have given me one of those labels. Now that I know the differences, I will try to more respectful in the future.