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Old 12-14-2018, 07:00 AM   #1
hazel
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What's the difference between a geek and a nerd?


My Penguin dictionary doesn't give them as synonyms but it defines them almost identically. I get the impression that nerd is a pejorative term.
 
Old 12-14-2018, 07:08 AM   #2
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"Nerds" has been a common term for socially awkward people for a very long time. A few decades ago, they usually did CB radio communication in their spare time. Nowadays, they handle computers instead.

"Geeks" can be different people.
 
Old 12-14-2018, 07:11 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YesItsMe View Post
"Geeks" can be different people.
What precisely does that mean? That some geeks are nerds but not all of them are?
 
Old 12-14-2018, 07:15 AM   #4
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You can be either a geek, a nerd or both a geek and a nerd. None of those are subsets of each other.
 
Old 12-14-2018, 07:18 AM   #5
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And the difference between geeks and nerds and gurus? Gurus earn about 200% more
 
Old 12-14-2018, 07:19 AM   #6
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Only if they're geek gurus. Nerd gurus don't.
 
Old 12-14-2018, 07:19 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YesItsMe View Post
Only if they're geek gurus. Nerd gurus don't.
 
Old 12-14-2018, 07:27 AM   #8
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https://www.etymonline.com/word/nerd

https://www.etymonline.com/word/geek

Both seem to have fairly pejorative origins.

Last edited by cynwulf; 12-14-2018 at 07:29 AM.
 
Old 12-14-2018, 07:38 AM   #9
hazel
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Still haven't got an answer. What's the difference?
 
Old 12-14-2018, 07:43 AM   #10
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I've always assumed both means this:

Quote:
By c. 1983, used in teenager slang in reference to peers who lacked social graces but were obsessed with new technology and computers (such as the Anthony Michael Hall character in 1984's "Sixteen Candles").
From cynwulf's link: https://www.etymonline.com/word/geek

Interesting how the two terms mean different things to different people. Although, if it's "teenager slang", then I think that's not a definitive meaning - it vary's depending on the teenager's own meaning of it. In other words: it's just "slang".

But all that said, I've never given it a lot of thought...
 
Old 12-14-2018, 08:06 AM   #11
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"The difference being geeks are employable."

That is, as far as I recall, the wording of an aside in a magazine article from years ago, almost certainly in New Scientist.

I took it to mean that geeks have more rounded and useful knowledge than nerds, implying that nerds are more hobbyists and geeks more professional. I don't think that's authoritative but I have thought of it that way ever since, for example I would describe myself as a Linux nerd, but a kernel developer as a Linux geek.

Of course there's massive overlap between those two definitions, especially in things like FOSS and shipbuilding (ship geeks built the Titanic, nerds built the Ark).
 
Old 12-14-2018, 08:11 AM   #12
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When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.'
 
Old 12-14-2018, 08:45 AM   #13
hazel
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I know Bill Gates was considered a nerd as a teenager. But he was hardly unemployable.
 
Old 12-14-2018, 08:50 AM   #14
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Gates was the nerd, Allen was the geek. Good enough for you ?.
Similar for Apple I guess.
 
Old 12-14-2018, 09:57 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hazel View Post
Still haven't got an answer. What's the difference?
So far as I can tell - no important differences. It's a matter of interpretations...

It's also a matter of "labels". In popular culture, film and the media, "hacker" means something else to what it really means.

So for a non technical person you're a geek/nerd if you're doing something which they can't understand easily or find cryptic.

You're also a "geek" if you wear a certain kind of fashion... so what does the term really mean? Not a fat lot.
 
  


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