nerd

noun
\ ˈnərd \

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 \ noun
nerdish \ ˈnər-​dish \ adjective
nerdy \ ˈnər-​dē \ 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

Like the Apatovian feminist raunch, 30 Rock peddled female-forward humor men could understand — woman as spinster, catty, self-deprecating; woman as cheese-loving nerd. Allison P. Davis, The Cut, "Kay Cannon ponders the dilemma of making the big-budget comedy more feminist.," 1 Apr. 2018 There are diagrams and occasional flourishes of whimsy that reveal Huggins’s roots in the Ohio River Valley and his identity as a true basketball nerd. Dave Clark, Cincinnati.com, "Huggins wrote nine instructional books at UC," 15 Mar. 2018 As a skin nerd, meeting Dangene was a bit like going to Disneyland for the first time in middle school. Katheryn Erickson, Town & Country, "Beauty Address: Dangene's Institute of Skinovation," 16 Feb. 2014 Even nerds who came to Aquaman in his later life don’t like him. Thomas Vinciguerra, WSJ, "I Want to Be Aquaman When I Grow Up . . .," 13 Dec. 2018 One issue that a lot of security nerds are pointing out is that RCS — and, therefore, apps such as Chat — lack the end-to-end encryption available in some current messaging tools such as WhatsApp. Barbara Krasnoff, The Verge, "What is RCS and why you might want it," 12 Dec. 2018 Graphics nerds will dig the built-in benchmark though. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "This week in games: Katamari Damacy finally rolls onto PCs, Tencent's snowboarding battle royale," 14 Sep. 2018 In a deflection attempt only theater nerds and gay men will appreciate, Grande posts about her involvement in the Wicked fifteenth anniversary special—her first social media post since the breakup rumors kicked off. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Here Is the Full, Confusing Saga of Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson's Breakup," 15 Oct. 2018 Mark Hamill, who has played Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars movie franchise, might be considered royalty to moviegoers and nerds alike. Megan Friedman, Town & Country, "Mark Hamill Wishes He Made Eye Contact When He Met Princess Margaret," 19 Sep. 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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Statistics for nerd

Last Updated

4 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for nerd

The first known use of nerd was in 1951

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More Definitions for nerd

nerd

noun

English Language Learners Definition of nerd

: 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 \

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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