What is a geek? (a subjective work in progress)
1. A person who is single-minded or accomplished in scientific or technical pursuits but is felt to be socially inept.
2. A person regarded as foolish, inept, or clumsy.
3. A carnival performer whose show consists of bizarre acts, such as biting the head off a live chicken.
This official defintion (found in most dictionaries) does not entirely describe the word "geek." Whereas it may imply certain social deficiencies, I would say that a geek is a person who is talented in an area outside the boundaries of social normality. There are different kinds of geeks; band geeks, gaming geeks, literary geeks, film geeks, science geeks, computer geeks, etc. They generally have one thing in common, whether or not they are able to disguise it from the rest of the world.
Geeks strive to prove their worth outside the definitions of mainstream.
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, now has a thorough definition. Probably because there are plenty of geeks who like to spend their time updating open content encyclopedias!
Wikipedia article about geeks
British dialect geck (fool); compare Dutch gek (crazy) or gekkie (crazy person).
* gek, /gi?k/, /gi:k/ Rhymes: -i?k
1. (somewhat dated) A carnival performer specializing in bizarre and unappetizing behavior. I once saw a geek bite the head off a live chicken.
2. (colloquial) A socially undesirable person. Why do you hang around with them? They're just geeks.
3. (colloquial) A person intensely interested in a particular field or hobby, generally at the expense of broader social interaction. Often used with an attributive noun. I was a complete computer geek in high school, but I get out a lot more now. Most famous actors are really just theater geeks at heart.
4. (colloquial) An expert in a technical field, particularly to do with computers. My laptop's locked up again. I need a geek. Do you think you need a hardware geek or a software geek?
5. (Australian colloquial) A look. Have a geek at this
Nerds and geeks Pundits and observers dispute the relationship of the terms nerd and geek to one another. Some view the geek as a less technically skilled nerd. Some factions maintain that "nerds" have both technical skills and social competence, whereas geeks display technical skills while socially incompetent; others hold an exactly reversed view, with geek serving as the socially competent counterpart of the socially incompetent nerd, and call themselves geeks with pride (compare Geekcorps, an organization that sends people with technical skills to developing countries to assist in computer infrastructure development). Another view is that "geeks" lack both social competency and technical skills. Some regional differences may exist in the use of the words nerd and geek. Some claim that on the North American west coast the population prefers the term geek to nerd, while the North American east coast prefers the word nerd to geek (see Ellen Spertus's page on The Sexiest Geek Alive). Others on the east coast dispute this, claiming that they have always found nerd used disparagingly and geek used in a positive light. In Britain, this latter view tends to apply nerd has more offensive connotations than geek, which speakers of British English often use affectionately. Compare anorak. The word nerd gained currency from the 1950s at a time when many school students did not see excelling at school as "cool". Therefore nerd originated as a derogatory word (although some people now consider it a compliment), while the term geek became widespread later (1980s) and has avoided many of the negative connotations. Geek as a milder version of nerd may also apply to socially insignificant people, while nerd refers more to socially inept people. However, personal preferences aside, two distinct focuses set the two words apart. Such is observed in the initial entries of the words; nerd, is a stereotypical or archetypal designation, referring to people of "above-average intelligence" whose interests (often in science and mathematics) are not shared by mainstream society. A "geek" is a person who is fascinated, perhaps obsessively, by obscure or very specific areas of knowledge and imagination. Thus essentially a "nerd" is often marked as having a high intelligence and not necessarily more fascinated with one subject anymore so than another. A "geek" however is obsessively fascinated with particular subjects, yet does not necessarily have an above average intelligence. Thus a "geek" has the compulsion and drive to learn vast quantities of knowledge about a particular field such as computers, or Star Trek trivia, without being required to have a high intelligence. More than likely the main confusion between the terms comes from specific areas of knowledge, which would seem to require a high intelligence to be extremely knowledgeable in, such as mathematics and science. Thus a "geek" who was obsessed in the pursuit of mathematical or scientific knowledge, may be classified as a "nerd" as society considers such pursuits to be intellectual in nature and one would appear to need a higher than average intellect to pursue such subjects. Both "nerds" and "geeks" would tend to be socially inept in this case, but not as a necessary requirement. There is one other comparison that can be made. In this view, geeks and nerds are exactly the same but for one broad respect: How the two archetypes view and interact with other people. Geeks will share their knowledge to "equals", while nerds will force their "superiority" on other people. This categorization allows an extra, not as well-known type of character, the dork, who perceives himself/herself as lower than the rest of society due to their knowledge/intelligence.
Thank you for supporting Geeks all over the world. The international response to the Geek Test has been tremendous, and it's all thanks to you geeks out there posting the link in your forums and message boards. Ahh, the internet.