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Believe it or not, there is a difference between a nerd and a geek. Though the terms are very often used as interchangeable, they really are two different words that denote two different types of people. While you may call a friend, in jest, a nerd or a geek because they are being a tad strange, the words nerd and geeks have different originations and different meanings.
Originally a geek was an oddity, sometimes even a freak, or a freakish person who did things that were extreme or odd, and that most people would not dare do. They traveled with carnivals and performed extreme acts that tended to horrify people. Today the term geek still refers to a certain type of freak, an oddity, but more so someone who is obsessed by a certain thing, and are extremely knowledgeable about whatever their obsession is, like cars (car geek) or computers (computer geek) and science fiction (Sci-Fi Geeks)
A nerd is an oddball, or socially strange person. The word comes from a Dr. Seuss book called If I Ran the Zoo. Nerds are often considered to be intelligent, perhaps even brilliant, but socially inept. The fact is, a nerd doesn’t have to be extremely intelligent to fit the bill, just socially awkward. The ideal of a nerd is usually pictured as someone who dresses differently, looks and acts differently, and is simply a square peg in a round hole.
• Nerds are socially awkward, much like the story of the Ugly Duckling; they appear to be a goose in a family of ducks, whereas geeks can be socially acceptable, even considered desirable.
• Nerds clothes are generally out of style, or simply reflective of their social awkwardness. Geeks can wear most anything but often wear clothes that are useful to whatever they are “geeky” or obsessive over.
• Geeks tend to be experts at whatever they are obsessed with, which usually translates to a profitable hobby, even if they are fascinated with something that is a niche. Nerds are not necessarily fascinated or experts on anything, and are as likely to be a financial failure as a success.
• Geeks tend to enjoy solidarity and solo pursuits, whereas geeks very often enjoy communal pursuits and time with other people.