\ 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 The way cybersecurity is often portrayed in the media can be unappealing at best, with a hooded geek slaving over arcane code in a darkened room. Renee Tarun, Forbes, 21 Dec. 2021 In the film — as was often the case with actual geek shows — the man is a desperate alcoholic and addict who is rewarded with liquor and narcotics. New York Times, 15 Dec. 2021 Unlike conventions for comic books, sci-fi, and anime, Christmas Con caters to a less conspicuous type of geek: suburban moms. Stephen Humphries, The Christian Science Monitor, 21 Dec. 2021 At the same time, his depiction of the geek has more than an ounce of sympathy to it, a wistful sadness that ends up being Nightmare Alley’s prevailing mood. David Sims, The Atlantic, 18 Dec. 2021 Scott Rich, owner and founder, earned his wine-geek cred working as a research enologist at Mondavi and a few other spots. Janice O'leary, Robb Report, 6 Dec. 2021 Maybe only a true music geek, like me, would notice and appreciate that. Steve Baltin, Forbes, 3 Oct. 2021 Taylor-Joy’s wannabe vixen has a hard demeanor unlike that of actual Sixties types Julie Christie, Suzy Kendall, and Carol White — a film geek should ace these things even more than Carnaby Street fashions. Armond White, National Review, 29 Oct. 2021 There, guests like Andrew Lloyd Webber, Cameron Mackintosh, Boggess, and Norm Lewis mingled before the show—and Lin-Manuel Miranda, ever the musical theater geek, traipsed around in a Phantom mask. Michael Appler, Variety, 24 Oct. 2021

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.

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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 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Geek.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for geek



English Language Learners Definition of geek

: a person who is socially awkward and unpopular : a usually intelligent person who does not fit in with other people
: a person who is very interested in and knows a lot about a particular field or activity

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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