How to Tell if Someone is a Nerd

Updated on January 9, 2017
Geek/Nerd/Dork/Dweeb Venn Diagram
Geek/Nerd/Dork/Dweeb Venn Diagram | Source

Do you think you're a nerd?

Where do you fall on the Venn diagram above?

See results

Nerds Versus Geeks

As you can tell from the lovely Venn diagram above, geeks and nerds are not the same thing. The evolution of the nerd has changed over the years from dweeb-like status, complete with suspenders, glasses, and a bad hair-do, to an appearance so closely related to the average person on the street that they are nearly indistinguishable, until you get them started on one of their obsessions, such as a television show or novel.

So, how can you tell if someone is a nerd?

The biggest difference between a nerd versus a geek is that a geek has a little more social skills. Therefore, a nerd is more likely to be extremely shy, awkward, and/or strange in ways that set them just a little apart from the rest of the group. Nerds, however, are unafraid to talk about their obsessions and may even be entertaining enough to hold an audience at times. They also tend to throw parties with fellow geeks, such as LAN parties in which friends gather with computers to play a game together in the same room. In my experience, most nerds are actually a lot more sociable than they're commonly given credit for.

Nerds Candy
Nerds Candy | Source

Dr. Seuss and Nerds

Dr. Seuss is attributed with coining the term "nerd" in 1954. It appears in a line from the book If I Ran the Zoo in which the narrator, Gerald McGrew, says: "A nerkle, a nerd, and a seersucker too!"

Definition of a Nerd

There are many different definitions out there for how to tell if someone is a nerd. Part of this is because of the many branches of the nerdosphere that have specific attributes suited to their interests (referred to as "obsessions" in the Venn diagram). One thing is certain, however, a nerd is the one person in that diagram above that has all of the attributes of a dweeb, geek, and dork combined. Therefore, unlike the rest of them, it is a term that is not used as an insult and can actually be something that many people out there are extremely proud of.

For example, I consider myself a booknerd, something that I have mentioned many times throughout my articles. To me, a booknerd is someone who gets excited about going to a new bookstore, whose arms will pile up as high as possible with books if there is a good enough sale, and a person who cannot get enough of reading and talking about books and authors. Furthermore, I feel that, as a nerd, it is my duty to be knowledgeable in the book realm enough to carry on an intelligent conversation with a fellow bibliomaniac.

The standard definition of a nerd tends to involve more computer use and the desire to see certain films and television shows and obsess over details and memorization for lines and other aspects. Like my own views of a proper book nerd, a real nerd has to be knowledgeable in whatever obsession they have, almost to the point of annoyance for some people out there. For example, if you cannot watch a film without spouting out random facts or reciting every line out loud along with the actors, you are probably a nerd.

There are some out there who consider themselves nerds and dress the part, both as a badge of nerdness and as a fashion statement that coincides with their obsession. For example, one person I know that is a major television and movie nerd almost always wears a t-shirt depicting a line or other recognizable image attributed to well known TV shows and films. On the other hand, some nerds simply go with the standard glasses and button up shirt look. Dressing the part isn't necessary, but it is a sure way to tell is someone is a nerd.

Basically, if a person has random knowledge of stuff that most people think is extremely unimportant, as well as a collection of action figures and other memorabilia that the average person thinks belongs in a twelve year old's room, rather than on display in a twenty-plus-year-old person's living room, that person is probably a nerd. While there are those out there who consider being called a nerd an insult, nerds themselves tend to have no shame. If you are learning how to tell if someone is a nerd out of concern for that person or even yourself, have no fear. Nerds are here to stay and, some believe, are about to take over the world, especially as technology becomes ever more prevalent.

How to Tell if Someone is a Nerd: Nerd Jokes

© 2012 Lisa


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      12 months ago

      hello im not sure if im a nerd

    • profile image


      16 months ago

      Hell no I'm not a nerd

    • profile image


      18 months ago

      Boo I’m not a nerd

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      I always thought nerds, geeks, dweebs and dorks were all the same thing.

    • profile image

      Prince Malik 

      2 years ago

      My IQ is of Genius level, but I like being boringly studious and I love to do science thing, is the intersection of genius and Nerd an empty set, or is there any term for it?

    • profile image

      Donna Ross 

      2 years ago

      I don't have one specific thing of being a nerd.I like different things.It doesn't matter what it is.I like being different from everybody else.That means I am not boring.

    • LisaKoski profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from WA

      I actually mentioned in this article that it's a term most are proud of. It's not an insult, otherwise I wouldn't call myself a nerd and neither would these other commenters above yours.

    • profile image

      Jean Valerie Kotzur nee Stoneman 

      7 years ago from Germany

      Have you ever thought of calling all these people just 'human beings' with their own peculiarities and strong points. Here, in Europe, these words don't mean anything and I have no idea if they are insulting or not. Perhaps there is a population of young people here in Europe who are up to date with these things, but I think that is as far as it goes.

      Any lack of social skills I may have had seem to have disappeared with time. I assume this will also apply to all the nerds etc.

    • sen.sush23 profile image


      7 years ago from Kolkata, India

      Lisa, your Hub profile bears proof of your status- however whether you are a Geek or a Nerd can be decided by only you. :)

      As a young adolescent, I thought I lacked social skills- however I guess I lost those qualifiers on the way to adulthood- so I cannot any longer claim being too nerdy, unfortunately.

      Wonderful topic to choose to write on and very well executed. Sharing.

    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 

      7 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      I must say some of my best friends are nerds. I think they are attracted to me. Gotta love them.

    • jmartin1344 profile image


      7 years ago from Royal Oak, Michigan

      Nice hub Lisa, apparently I'm a Dweeb!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      7 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...too funny, Lisa! I guess I'm a nerd; I know I was in school. Now I think, with maturity, I've brought nerdness to a higher level. :)

    • Kenja profile image

      Ken Taub 

      7 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Love the Venn Diagram, love the rapid fire nerd humor. Fun stuff Lisa. best, Ken


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)