Geek? Nerd? Dork? 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).

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."

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. Honestly, when people interview her, it's apparent that Renee Zellwegger is a Spaz.

1. Nerd. (Yeah, this is me. I know a little bit about enough to talk to anyone)
2. Dork. (I am known to sometimes wear something dorky like a big fluffy old robe and thick socks to the pool area or walk around all day with a huge puffy ponytail and my tiny glasses perched on my nose)
3. Geek. (I have my expertises, but not extreme)
4. Spaz. (My friends might argue this because they call me a spaz, but I do still manage to make perfectly normal social interactions with people without scaring them off or making them shake their heads, however physically, I'm energetically spastic).

So, what are y'all?


  1. I'm a little bit of a nerd because I know a lot about many subjects, but I'm a complete geek when it comes to horror movies and cats :-)


Post a Comment