plural dorks
: an odd, socially awkward, unstylish person
I felt like a dork in that sweater.
As the years went by, Webb found other members of his own species—a dork here, a nerd there.Jerry Spinelli
The kinds of kids regarded by peers as dorks, nerds and screw-ups have suffered years of rejection, based on appearances, quirks and familial conditioning.Ed Blank
Her younger brother … is a wispy little wimp with dorks for pals … and a big problem with the local bully.Kendall Hamilton
also : an annoyingly stupid or foolish person : jerk sense 1a
… her dork of a do-nothing husband … Stephen Schaefer
My fear of the menace represented by this young dork is offset only by the concern that if I confront him, he'll come over one night and smash our patio furniture. Stanley Bing

Did you know?

Of Nerds, Geeks, and Dorks

Dork, when used to refer to a socially awkward or inept person, is a relatively recent word: our records indicate that it first appeared in writing in the 1960s. Two of its synonyms in this sense are likewise of fairly recent vintage. Nerd (typically used of a studious species of dork) dates from the 1950s; it was coined by Dr. Seuss in his 1950 book If I Ran the Zoo, although not in the sense that we use today. The usage of nerd is now often used in a neutral fashion to denote enthusiasm or expertise (theater nerd) or proudly as a self-identifying trait (word nerd). Geek became synonymous with nerd in the 1950s and has similarly seen increasing use with positive connotations, showing membership in a specialized group (film geek, beer geek) rather than social awkwardness. In its earliest meanings, geek referred to, among other things, a carnival performer who would bite the head off a live chicken, or other small animal, as part of an act.

Examples of dork in a Sentence

I look like a complete dork in these clothes.
Recent Examples on the Web Initially wary of each other, the alpha dorks become best friends who leave all manner of hysterical chaos in their wake. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, 19 Aug. 2023 The novel runs on that energy — heady, unembarrassed joy; the dork sublime — and, in particular, the high of finding a kindred spirit. Sophia Nguyen, Washington Post, 10 Aug. 2023 All three – nerd, dork, and geek – suggest social ineptitude. John McIntyre, The Christian Science Monitor, 31 July 2023 Unfortunately for the dorks like me — and maybe, perhaps, thankfully for everyone else — a thunderstorm on Tuesday night forced the SEC to cancel the show at the last minute. Joseph Goodman |, al, 21 July 2023 Like Meta’s ersatz TikTok copycat, Reels, the platform could become a dupe for dorks, destined to fester in the shadow of its original. WIRED, 7 July 2023 The church choir, the writers’ workshop, her own kids, and her husband, Pat (played by Patrick Fugit as a genial, distracted dork), just aren’t raising her blood pressure enough. Chris Vognar, Chron, 20 Apr. 2023 What was this dork even doing here? Devin Gordon, The Atlantic, 21 Apr. 2022 Indulge that dork with visualizations that will help put awards season’s most exciting competition into focus. Joe Reid, Vulture, 17 Mar. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dork.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


perhaps alteration of dick

First Known Use

1965, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of dork was in 1965

Dictionary Entries Near dork

Cite this Entry

“Dork.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2024.

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