Nerd (n.) - It's what I am.

Nerd (n.) - It's what I am.

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Someone who focuses much of their attention on something that others might consider a waste of time.

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History & Etymology

There is a bit of controversy around the origin of the word nerd. Probably the most absurd possibility is the idea that it’s drunk spelled backwards. And just like knight, knife and knee the k is silent thereby leading to the spelling change. But this sounds a little far fetched considering even the earliest definition of nerd.

The earliest definition of nerd was something like: insignificant, foolish, and socially inept person.

Ok, so that last part still kind of applies, but the only part of that definition that might fit a drunk person could possibly be foolish.

I think for a more accurate origin we need to go back to the first recorded use of the word nerd.

The word nerd was first heard in the work of Dr. Sues If I Ran The Zoo. One of the made up creatures in this made up world was a nerd a short grumpy hairy creature. Of course when you have school children learning new words even made up words they want to use them. This book was published in 1950 when and by the end of the decade the word nerd had supplanted a common insult in schools of the time, square. From some news sources from the time there seemed to be several words competing for dominance, square, drip, scurve and nerd. Nerd won this battle and was accepted as a label for people considered losers throughout the English speaking world.

After time the word nerd was appropriated by the people that it was being applied to as a badge of honor. People proudly stating, “Yes, I have a subject I really care about, and you don’t have to find it interesting. I do and that’s all that matters.”

“Yes, I am a word nerd.”


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