Dorky Nerd or Nerdy Dork?

If you have to make fun of an intelligent (or seemingly intelligent) person, you’d better use the correct terminology.

Nerd: The most general of all the terms. While “nerd” used to be a strictly negative term, movies such as “Revenge of the Nerds” and shows like “The Big Bang Theory” have gone a long way to destigmatize nerdiness. Due to its lack of specificity, other terms are often mentioned in the nerd description (e.g., “biology nerd,” “book nerd”). Some believe in instances of “nerd swagger,” although the only confirmed case is Johnny Galecki, as he was able to date Kaley Cuoco in real life as well as his character Leonard Hofstadter dating Cuoco’s Penny in “The Big Bang Theory.”

Dork: Implies social awkwardness. At one extreme, dorks can be reserved wallflowers. Alternatively, a dork will make comments at inappropriate and/or strange times in conversation. A “dork” diagnosis will often be a comorbid disorder. This person will oftentimes also be a geek (see “dweeb”) or a nerd (general classification).

Geek: Geeks have a specific area of expertise, and there’s absolutely no hiding what it is. They will discuss the topic at length when prompted, and, most irritatingly, when unprompted, unwarranted, and unwanted. Areas of expertise can be as specific as a particular area of the periodic table or as general as “computers.”

Dweeb: A mix between a dork and a geek. Dweebs are socially inept, don’t dress well, and and are caught up in their field of expertise to the point where they really don’t make sense to normal people.


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