Geek or nerd – the word

I thought a fair bit before using the word “geek” in my blog’s title. It’s not that I have a problem with it, it’s just that it means different things to different people. And I have the feeling that there is a different nuance in its usage in Australia, the US and the UK; although I’m struggling to find evidence of this. Writing about Nerdy Day Trips made me think that the British are more willing to use the word ‘nerd’ when Australian’s or Americans will use ‘geek’.

As a little experiment I tried translating ‘geek’ into French (which may itself be evidence of geekiness). According to Google Translate it becomes ‘connaisseur’ which has connotations of being about one who knows things. If I translate that back into English it becomes ‘connoisseur’ which is one who knows things about fine things – and I like that. ‘Nerd’, on the other hand, becomes ‘ballot’ which translates back into English as ‘blockhead’ or ‘chump’.

That fits fairly neatly with this clever venn diagram from Great White Snark explaining the realm of geekiness and nerdiness.

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