What is a geek?

What is a geek?

The word “geek” has a colorful history. It originally referred to a crazy person. Later, it denoted sideshow performers who would bite the heads off live chickens — something geeks of today do not partake in.

Then came along the 1980s and the word “geek” became slang for a person who was an expert in scientific and technological pursuits but lacked basic social skills. Isolated and shunned by his or her peers, this geek was thought to find solace in science fiction, fantasy, and comic books — in the opinion of some to an unhealthy degree.

The dot.com boom changed the nature of the economy in the 1990s. Leading this new computer revolution was not the savvy ad man or financial shark of times past. Instead, it was the geek. As Alpha-geeks such as Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Steve Jobs became household names, the term “geek” began to take on a more positive connotation. The high school geek of the 1980s now drove a Ferrari and dated supermodels, while the star quarterback who had tormented him was now long unemployed and drove an old pick-up truck.

Is a geek the same as a nerd?

No. While a geek may be obsessed with certain esoteric topics, he or she can still have an active social life, though often only with other geeks. The stereotypical “nerd,” however, is more awkward, less confident, and more socially inept than the geek. In other words, a room full of geeks would be able to spot the nerd.

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