\ 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


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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 In place of authenticity, the film’s déjà vu gangsterism amounts to a crime nerd’s fantasy — minus the horror that DePalma brought to the Hoffa legend in Snake Eyes, which reflected contemporary political skulduggery. Armond White, National Review, "The Irishman’s Déjà Vu Gangsterism," 1 Nov. 2019 Actor Forrest McClendon intentionally over-enunciates every syllable to create a portrait of a sweet nerd who should be a member of the pocket protector brigade instead of pushing grocery carts. Mary Carole Mccauley,, "Does this Center Stage play have a shot at Broadway? Baltimoreans will help decide its fate.," 25 Oct. 2019 All of a sudden, Steve goes from a film nerd with a camera to another young Black man in an orange jumper behind bars. Candice Frederick, Essence, "All Rise: A Standout Performance From Kelvin Harrison Jr. Brings This Cautionary Tale To Life On The Big Screen," 24 Sep. 2019 Beauty nerds know Maybelline New York has a habit of making big product reveals during the most unexpected moments. Nicola Dall'asen, Allure, "Here's Everything We Know About Maybelline New York's Next Nude Eye Shadow Palette," 15 Nov. 2019 Chidi, the professor and philosophy nerd, winds up trying to teach his co-habitants—and himself, and even the reforming demon played by Danson—on how to be a good person who can actually make it to the Good Place despite their past sins. Sy Mukherjee, Fortune, "‘The Good Place’ and What We Owe to Each Other in Health Care: Brainstorm Health," 27 Sep. 2019 Well played This has been a joke between film studies nerds and tennis fans, Mr. W! Jon Wertheim,, "Mailbag: U.S. Open Week One; Should We Buy the Coco Gauff Hype?," 29 Aug. 2019 Diego is embarrassed by her, queen bee Sammy (Madeleine Madden) is threatened by her, and the school nerd (Nicholas Coombe) is enamored of her. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: ‘Dora and the Lost City of Gold’ gives us the Latinx heroine we need right now," 8 Aug. 2019 Gossage carped, later launching into an expletive-filled rant about how general managers now are nerds directly imported from fantasy baseball and the Ivy League into each team’s C-suite. Jon Tayler,, "MLB Is a Game of Extremes in 2019. What Does That Mean for the Sport's Future?," 3 Sep. 2019

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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Statistics for nerd

Last Updated

6 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Nerd.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 15 December 2019.

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More Definitions for nerd


How to pronounce nerd (audio)

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.


\ 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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for nerd

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with nerd

Spanish Central: Translation of nerd

Nglish: Translation of nerd for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of nerd for Arabic Speakers

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delight or enjoyment

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