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

So coffee nerds are trying to figure it out for themselves. Mike Cherney, WSJ, "Freezing Your Coffee Beans? The Experts Say You’re Doing It All Wrong," 12 Feb. 2019 Alright, these two astrophysicist nerds and a pretty girl lives with them. Morgan M. Evans, Fox News, "Macaulay Culkin reveals he turned down 'Big Bang Theory' 3 times," 9 Aug. 2018 She’s been seen carrying a copy of The Stranger by Albert Camus, a classic that has been on the must-read lists of philosophy nerds and French literature fiends for decades. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Would You Join the Bella and Gigi Hadid Book Club?," 18 Mar. 2019 Monty Python’s Spam sketch was a favorite of tech nerds of the 1980s, who playfully applied the term to the world of computing. Ben Zimmer, WSJ, "The Story of ‘Spam’: How a Mystery Meat Became an Inbox Invader," 24 Jan. 2019 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

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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