Defining ‘geek’ (for my Grandad)

My Grandad is ace and he also, occasionally, checks up on my blog (these two things are not related).

Yesterday he asked me what the etymology of the word geek was.

So, Grandad (if you’re reading) and anyone else that might be interested:

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it isn’t an acronym but a word derived from the word geck, meaining ‘fool’.

Wikipedia also seems to suggest the word may have originally pertained to a carnival performer “often billed as a wild man whose act usually includes biting the head off a live chicken, bat, snake or bugs”. Nice.

The word has, however, taken on a more positive meaning in recent years where it denotes an individual with an intense interest in a (usually) technical field.

And yes, I probably am a geek. 🙂

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1 Response to “Defining ‘geek’ (for my Grandad)”


  1. 1 Kristine July 2, 2008 at 6:33 am

    I quite like Hugh MacLeod’s definition of geek, worth checking out if you haven’t already seen it:
    http://www.gapingvoid.com/Moveable_Type/archives/004569.html


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