nerd

noun
\ ˈnərd How to pronounce nerd (audio) \

Definition of nerd

: an unstylish, unattractive, or socially inept person especially : one slavishly devoted to intellectual or academic pursuits computer nerds … single-minded math and science nerds— Anna Quindlen

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Other Words from nerd

nerdiness \ ˈnər-​dē-​nəs How to pronounce nerdiness (audio) \ noun
nerdish \ ˈnər-​dish How to pronounce nerdish (audio) \ adjective
nerdy \ ˈnər-​dē How to pronounce nerdy (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for nerd

Synonyms

bookworm, dink [slang], dork [slang], geek, grind, swot [British], weenie, wonk

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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. Geek became synonymous with nerd in the 1950s. Prior to this, the word 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 nerd in a Sentence

He dresses like a nerd. was such a nerd in college that she spent Saturday nights at the library

Recent Examples on the Web

Space nerds will no doubt be glued to their computer monitors in the wee hours of Saturday morning. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "SpaceX Is Conducting Its First Passenger-Ready Launch on Saturday," 1 Mar. 2019 This is hallowed ground for us space nerds and rocket chasers. Trevor Mahlmann, Ars Technica, "Behind the lens at SpaceX’s historic Falcon Heavy launch," 6 Mar. 2018 Greenberg takes some inspiration from the space nerd canon of Star Trek. Samantha Swindler, OregonLive.com, "Can Oregon's first nano-satellite, OreSat, get students interested in space? (Column)," 10 Jan. 2018 My son, who’s a math junkie, couldn’t get enough of the math-nerd-saves-the-day scenes, only to give up on the movie when the Athletics’ travails in the field proved too stressful to watch. Alexandra Samuel, WSJ, "Nine Movies That Can Teach Your Children About Business," 25 Nov. 2018 Hawking, who refused to be limited by a 1963 diagnosis of ALS, was also the idol of Cooper, the nerd-meets-annoying-know-it-all character played to Emmy-winning perfection by Jim Parsons. Ajc Homepage, ajc, "Stephen Hawking has died and people on Twitter are very worried about Sheldon Cooper," 14 Mar. 2018 Learning a new keyboard layout is an alpha-nerd pursuit right up there with planning out your own D&D campaigns (guilty) and painting Warhammer 40K figurines (death to the false emperor!), and the popular reasons for doing so are fittingly geeky. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "Why I'm Learning To Type All Over Again," 25 Apr. 2016 There's a lot that's new about the latest version, known to BMW nerds as the G20. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "BMW’s all-new 3 Series goes on sale 2019, starting at $40,200," 2 Oct. 2018 Toys for your nerds-in-training American Science & Surplus in Milwaukee is the hub for the local maker community. Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "50 top holiday gifts for kids (and adults), recommended by local, independent toy stores," 7 Dec. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nerd.' 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 nerd

1951, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for nerd

perhaps from nerd, a creature in the children's book If I Ran the Zoo (1950) by Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel)

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More Definitions for nerd

nerd

noun

English Language Learners Definition of nerd

informal + usually disapproving
: a person who behaves awkwardly around other people and usually has unstylish clothes, hair, etc.
: a person who is very interested in technical subjects, computers, etc.

nerd

noun
\ ˈnərd How to pronounce nerd (audio) \

Kids Definition of nerd

1 : a person who is socially awkward, unattractive, or not fashionable
2 : a person who is extremely interested in technical or intellectual subjects

Other Words from nerd

nerdy \ ˈnər-​dē \ adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on nerd

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with nerd

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for nerd

Spanish Central: Translation of nerd

Nglish: Translation of nerd for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of nerd for Arabic Speakers

Comments on nerd

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