\ ˈgēk How to pronounce geek (audio) \

Definition of geek

1 : a person often of an intellectual bent who is disliked
2 : an enthusiast or expert especially in a technological field or activity computer geek
3 : a carnival performer often billed as a wild man whose act usually includes biting the head off a live chicken or snake

Other Words from geek

geekiness noun
geeky \ ˈgē-​kē How to pronounce geek (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for geek


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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 geek in a Sentence

He was a real geek in high school. was quickly stereotyped as another computer geek
Recent Examples on the Web Bix, who first appeared in Goon Squad as a computer geek and NYU grad student, is now the founder of Mandala, a mammoth social network. Jennifer Wilson, The New Republic, 10 May 2022 People use the terms gearhead, geek, technocrat, and technophile interchangeably. Kim Komando, USA TODAY, 14 Apr. 2022 Sasha’s son, for example, is a math geek who tries to crowdsource just how attractive his crush might be. Jennifer Egan, New York Times, 29 Mar. 2022 As a teen-ager, Apatow was a suburban comedy geek when comedy was still uncool. Susan Morrison, The New Yorker, 27 Mar. 2022 But men also feel pressure to conform to a few masculine body types that society deems acceptable, such as the muscular superhero and the lanky computer geek, Woodside said. Madeline Holcombe, CNN, 21 Feb. 2022 Everyone had a chance at winning the office pool, from the secretary making random picks to the sports geek who stayed up until midnight every weekday watching Mountain West games. Paul Sullivan,, 13 Mar. 2022 As a life-long science geek, one of my hero/favorite authors has long been Cal Tech physicist and Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, 21 Jan. 2022 It's signed a contract with upstart wrestling promotion AEW—a company co-founded by wrestler and huge video game geek Kenny Omega—and its flagship title is in development. K. Thor Jensen, PCMAG, 10 Mar. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'geek.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of geek

1912, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for geek

probably from English dialect geek, geck fool, from Low German geck, from Middle Low German

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Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Geek.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on geek

Nglish: Translation of geek for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of geek for Arabic Speakers


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