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

The British singer’s misfit allure connected with legions of fans, from punks and nerds to LGBTQ folks and Mexican Americans, who saw their own alienation in his melancholy lyrics. Baltimore Sun Staff, baltimoresun.com, "Bigmouth strikes again: Morrissey’s racist rhetoric inspires boycott ahead of Merriweather Post Pavilion show," 4 Sep. 2019 Skip to main content LOS ANGELES — Sprint brought 5G phone service to four of the nation's biggest cities this week, including New York, Washington, D.C., and L.A., and naturally, tech nerds like myself got really excited. Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY, "5G: Why you should ignore the hype and wait – until 2020," 28 Aug. 2019 There being no clear career path in cartooning, the field was, almost by definition, dominated by outsiders, weirdos and nerds. Robert Lloyd, chicagotribune.com, "A generation later, ‘Rocko’s Modern Life’ and ‘Invader Zim’ are still ahead of their time," 18 Aug. 2019 This past July, meanwhile, was Tom, who has proved himself capable of both saving the world and being a massive nerd as Peter Parker in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and most recently in Spider-Man: Far From Home. Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue, "Twitter’s White Boy of the Month Meme Is a Match Made in Heaven Between Celebrity and Internet Culture," 26 Aug. 2019 In addition to Nick and Noelle, the Kringle family has tech nerd Gabriel, played by Billy Eichner, ready to bring some new innovations to the whole present delivery process. Marcus Jones, EW.com, "Watch Anna Kendrick coach Bill Hader's reluctant Santa in Noelle trailer from Disney+," 24 Aug. 2019 There being no clear career path in cartooning, the field was, almost by definition, dominated by outsiders, weirdos and nerds. Robert Lloyd, chicagotribune.com, "A generation later, ‘Rocko’s Modern Life’ and ‘Invader Zim’ are still ahead of their time," 18 Aug. 2019 There being no clear career path in cartooning, the field was, almost by definition, dominated by outsiders, weirdos and nerds. Los Angeles Times, "A generation later, ‘Rocko’s Modern Life’ and ‘Invader Zim’ are still ahead of their time," 16 Aug. 2019 Unlike school, however, the tables aren’t separated by jocks or nerds. Cady Lang, Time, "The Where Y'all Sitting? Lunch Table Meme Is Separating the Internet Into Very Specific Categories," 8 Aug. 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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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

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