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

In high school, he was drawn to a small clique of other nerds and came to accept the bullying as normal. Adrian Higgins, Washington Post, "This collector-grower built an Eden of rare plants. Now he tackles the challenge to preserve it.," 17 Sep. 2019 But Fraser was a bit of a tech nerd and was well-versed in the e-commerce site. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Once a broke surfer, this San Diego entrepreneur built dream life on an $800 investment," 16 Aug. 2019 An entire cadre of pop culture nerds eagerly awaits your response. Judith Martin, The Mercury News, "Miss Manners: I hate this new rule about posting spoilers," 9 Aug. 2019 Now known as Florida's Space Coast, the 72-mile-stretch between Cape Canaveral and Palm Bay, just east of Orlando, has become a destination for rocket lovers, shuttle nerds, and astronaut wannabes. Robert Ormerod, National Geographic, "Why the Apollo missions made Florida synonymous with space," 16 July 2019 And for the full-on gelato nerds (and aspiring ice cream entrepreneurs), understanding the differences in fat percentages and how freezing temperatures affect texture is critical. Naomi Tomky, Fortune, "How to Get a Degree in Gelato," 22 June 2019 With its famous paneled windshield and actual working toggle switches, the Falcon’s cockpit is something out of nerd Valhalla. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "The Star Wars Park Is a Space-Junk Fantasy," 5 June 2019 But Before the Storm takes the time to push beyond the easy tropes and find the unexpected depths of the jock and the nerd and the creep. Scott Meslow, GQ, "Life is Strange: Before the Storm," 5 Apr. 2018 Meanwhile, Ryan Colbert is the straw that stirs the mystery as a devious dandy in the first play before becoming a wide-eyed med-tech nerd in the second. Rob Hubbard, Twin Cities, "Review: Park Square shows off Christie’s mastery of mystery in fun fashion," 20 July 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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