Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A person regarded as foolish, inept, or clumsy.
  • noun A person who is single-minded or accomplished in scientific or technical pursuits but is felt to be socially inept.
  • noun A carnival performer whose show consists of bizarre acts, such as biting the head off a live chicken.
  • transitive verb To excite emotionally.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A performer in a carnival, often presented as a wild man, who performs grotesquely disgusting acts, such as biting the head off a live chicken or snake.
  • noun Any eccentric or strange person; an oddball; an eccentric.
  • noun Informal A student who is socially inept and a misfit in his class, especially one who is an intellectual; a nerd; a dork.
  • noun Informal An intellectually inclined person, especially one who is interested in scientific or technical subjects; ; -- originally a deprecatory and contemptuous term, but in the 1990's, with the increase in popularity of computers and the frequency of accumulation of great wealth by computer entrepreneurs, it has come to be used with noticeable frequency by technically competent people to refer to themselves, ironically and sometimes proudly.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun dated A carnival performer specializing in bizarre and unappetizing behavior.
  • noun colloquial A person who is intensely interested in a particular field or hobby and usually asocial. Often used with an attributive noun.
  • noun colloquial, by extension An expert in a technical field, particularly one having to do with computers.
  • noun colloquial The subculture of geeks; an esoteric subject of interest that is marginal to the social mainstream; the philosophy, events, and physical artifacts of geeks.
  • noun colloquial An unfashionable or socially undesirable person.
  • noun Australia, colloquial A look.
  • verb colloquial To get high on cocaine.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a carnival performer who does disgusting acts
  • noun a person with an unusual or odd personality

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Perhaps alteration of dialectal geck, fool, from Low German gek, from Middle Low German.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From British dialect geck ("fool") from Low German geck, from Middle Low German; The root still survives in Dutch gek ("crazy") or gekkie ("crazy person") in Alsatian word Gickeleshut ("geek's hat").

Examples

  • "It is not just the word geek, it is the word geek with orange and black coloration" that puts Newegg over the line, says a Best Buy spokeswoman.

    Now That Everyone Wants to Be a Geek, Lawyers Have Been Called

  • "It is not just the word geek, it is the word geek with orange and black coloration" that puts Newegg over the line, says a Best Buy spokeswoman.

    Now That Everyone Wants to Be a Geek, Lawyers Have Been Called

  • The one thing that is clear the moment you arrive at the Maker Faire is that the term 'geek' has gone mainstream.

    Steve Rosenbaum: What Barack Obama Could Learn From Maker Faire

  • The term geek is characterized by extreme passion for, and expertise, in an unexpected specialization.

    Shirky FTW

  • Hence, the term geek—the “fool” from five centuries back, later disdained in circuses as the lowest of the low—has become the badge worn proudly by the virtuosos of the Virtual Generation.

    No Uncertain Terms

  • Hence, the term geek—the “fool” from five centuries back, later disdained in circuses as the lowest of the low—has become the badge worn proudly by the virtuosos of the Virtual Generation.

    No Uncertain Terms

  • Hence, the term geek—the “fool” from five centuries back, later disdained in circuses as the lowest of the low—has become the badge worn proudly by the virtuosos of the Virtual Generation.

    No Uncertain Terms

  • Hence, the term geek—the “fool” from five centuries back, later disdained in circuses as the lowest of the low—has become the badge worn proudly by the virtuosos of the Virtual Generation.

    No Uncertain Terms

  • Personally I'm more of a science fiction kind of guy, some may prefer the term geek, but I don't think the Force would be with me if I suggested a photo shoot with Darth Vader and his Stormtroopers.

    Grande Prairie Daily Herald Tribune

  • And now being a geek is about to get even better, with the launch of THE GEEK'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY podcast, the indispensable news and talk show for geeks everywhere.

    Tor.com's New Podcast Will Guide Geeks Through The Galaxy

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • You hand in your ticket

    And you go watch the geek

    Who immediately walks up to you

    When he hears you speak

    And says, "How does it feel

    To be such a freak?"

    And you say, "Impossible"

    As he hands you a bone

    - Bob Dylan, Ballad of a Thin Man

    October 13, 2007

  • Geek evolution

    (via SoG on twitter)

    October 22, 2010

  • "The geek was a thin man who wore a suit of long underwear dyed chocolate brown. The wig was black and looked like a mop, and the brown greasepaint on the emaciated face was streaked and smeared with the heat and rubbed off around the mouth."

    - Nightmare Alley, William Lindsay Gresham

    June 30, 2012