Geek? Dork? Nerd? Spaz? Which Are You?

What are we talking about, here? You mean, there’s slight differences? Let’s look first at the dictionary’s meanings (it never could conceptualize popular culture accurately).

Geek: 1. A computer expert or enthusiast (a term of pride as self-reference, but often considered offensive when used by outsiders.) 2. A peculiar or otherwise dislikable person, esp. one who is perceived to be overly intellectual. 3. A circus performer who bites the heads off of chickens.

Nerd: 1. A stupid, irritating, ineffectual, or unattractive person. 2. An intelligent but single-minded person obsessed with a nonsocial hobby or pursuit: a computer nerd.

Dork: A stupid or ridiculous person; jerk; nerd.

Spaz: 1. A grotesquely awkward person. 2. An eccentric person.

Now, let’s take it down to street talk. Given the propensities you have today, which category would you insert yourself into given the more common concepts (below) of these categories? (BTW, don’t say you aren’t one of them, you read my blog)

Geek: A geek has a singular focus, whether it’s World of Warcraft, LARP’ing, computers, games. If you’re a geek, someone’s saying you have a focus of your weirdness and expertise. Some famous geeks include Bill Gates and Tony Hawk. The character of “Sheldon” on “Big Bang Theory” is a geek (although he cradles the "spaz" category as well).

Nerd: A nerd can be quite broad and general. A nerd is likely to possess the trivial knowledge that impresses folks. They remember the ratio of those with albino pigmentation to the general population or can speak intelligently in most arenas of topics. A nerd is well read. A nerd is serious about being smart across the board. He has something to say about every subject. If anyone’s listened to interviews with Steve Martin—he’s a nerd. The character of Fraser on TV was a nerd.

Dork: Uncomfortable in social situations and dresses for the wrong decade. He is superficially not quite like everyone else. There’s just something otherworldly (marching to another drummer) about him as if he thinks he’s from another time or place. A couple of celebrity dorks include Johnny Depp and the character of Howard on "Big Bang Theory."

Spaz: A spaz is like a dork on crack. He is likely to be so eccentric in his appearance that he looks like every day is a SciFi convention. He’s likely to be very klutzy and awkward in his own skin. He has trouble with any conversation and actually scares people off with his ability to draw strangers into a conversation about the technical merits of one cell phone compared to another while they’re standing in the aisle at Best Buy (when you didn’t ask for help). It’s real easy to think a spaz has a mental disorder. I’d put Joaquin Phoenix in the Spaz category as of late. I’d put Mel Gibson there actually because he’s not really lucid during conversations and he’s all over the place, but I think that’s just unmedicated bipolar disorder with mania.

I think all of us could consider ourselves Paranormal Geeks. If you want to know more about your kind, pick up Julie Ferguson and I's book, "Paranormal Geeks" on Amazon. You might just have found your tribe!


  1. I think I am a bit of all of these things. Is there a name for that? ;)

  2. I agree, I'm a little bit of all of these too. I'd say 40%Nerd 35%Geek 10%Dork 10%Spaz and 5%No one knows ;)

  3. Some of those names mean different things over here in the UK to what they apparently do to you, which could land someone in trouble if not careful. Mind you a word can mean 2 different things in the next towns in Yorkshire !!

  4. I think I am a combination of all of them TOO!

    What's the name for an eccentric, yet cute, smart chic... who likes to go to REN FAIRES... watch/read anything paranormal horror... who isn't afraid to make a complete fool of herself?

    Oh wait... It's a "Kat Von Steal"!


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