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

Instead of targeting awkward nerds for its augmented reality, perhaps the company should have tried to put its technology on burly industrial workers. Mike Rogoway, oregonlive.com, "Vancouver startup RealWear raises $80 million for augmented reality hardhat," 1 July 2019 The photos from his weeks spent at the show depict a captivating nexus of art and commerce, where geology nerds and luxury shoppers mingle. Johnny Simon, Quartz, "Photos: Inside a kaleidoscope of beauty and money at America’s biggest gem show," 6 June 2019 After finding out about Sanctuary, my inner astrology nerd was chomping at the bit to give the app a go. Hannah Dylan Pasternak, SELF, "What I Learned From Having an On-Call Astrologer for a Week," 1 Apr. 2019 In the middle of the competition, the five Denver word nerds gathered outside a Maryland Starbucks swapping spelling scuttlebutt and gushing about their beloved coach. Elizabeth Hernandez, The Denver Post, "“Bill’s kids”: A 77-year-old Denverite has dedicated his life to coaching spelling for free “out of the goodness of his heart”," 10 June 2019 Like many a series finale, especially on this network, this one is destined to be argued about for a while–at least until the nerds refocus their attention on David Benioff and D. B. Weiss's take on Star Wars. Daniel Mendelsohn, Town & Country, "Even Classicists Hated the Game of Thrones Finale," 20 May 2019 One thing's for sure: the experimental music nerd uniform has never looked this um, cheeky. Vogue, "Emily Ratajkowski’s Wardrobe Malfunction Is Instagram Gold," 1 May 2019 Some critics have compared the primary villains—three isolated nerds who embark on a mission to destroy Buffy—to early avatars of today’s internet trolls. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "Marti Noxon Wants to Put Angry Women on TV," 15 May 2018 Indulging the art history nerds among us, Grande donned a Vera Wang gown screen-printed with images from Michelangelo's iconic fresco, The Last Judgement, which adorns the sanctuary wall of the Sistine Chapel. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Ariana Grande Is Dressed as the Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel at the Met Gala," 8 May 2018

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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