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

Like many zealous craft-beer nerds in South Florida with lofty ambitions, Abralde first tried to open a brewery. Phillip Valys, sun-sentinel.com, "Craft Beer Cellar taproom and bottle shop opening in Fort Lauderdale," 30 July 2019 The balance between the sci-fi references and house tradition is what keeps things interesting, but designers can’t resist leaning into the source material’s nerd factor. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "The Force is With Etro’s New Star Wars Collection," 15 June 2019 The nerd bird, a sea plane, has been ferrying techies between Vancouver and Seattle since last year. The Economist, "Foreign policyCanada is feeling lonely, but its place internationally is still strong," 25 July 2019 Its craft beer list, though, is refreshingly Hudson Valley, and the long, slender bar with a dozen-plus tap options will satisfy even jaded beer nerds. New York Times, "An Upstate Culture Crawl, Thanks to a $2 Trolley That Drops You Door to Door," 24 July 2019 San Diego Comic-Con, once a gathering of unknown and socially awkward comic book nerds. Ephrat Livni, Quartzy, "Natalie Portman is Marvel Studios’ new Thor and Mahershala Ali is Blade," 21 July 2019 Her glasses are another, pushed back up the bridge of her nose as a kind of nerd punctuation, a visual stammer. James Parker, The Atlantic, "Hannah Gadsby’s Genius Follow-Up to Nanette," 25 June 2019 One day while studying together, Warren and Johnson had a breakthrough, the kind of thrill only a debate nerd can appreciate. Liz Goodwin, BostonGlobe.com, "For a young Elizabeth Warren, ‘a fire-cracker questioner,’ debate was a ticket to another life," 22 June 2019 Since The Twilight Zone ended in 1964, sci-fi nerds have been searching for a possible successor. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "The Twilight Zone Is Coming Back. Here's Everything We Know About the Jordan Peele Reboot.," 30 Jan. 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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