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dork

[ dawrk ]
/ dɔrk /
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noun

Slang. a silly, out-of-touch person who tends to look odd or behave ridiculously around others; a social misfit: If you make me wear that, I’ll look like a total dork!
Slang: Vulgar. penis.

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Origin of dork

First recorded in 1960–65; origin uncertain; perhaps a variant of dirk, influenced by dick

historical usage of dork

The history of dork is a short one. It’s been around only since the early 1960s, originally as a slang term for “penis.” Most likely dork was just an alternative form of dick, a word that started out as a nickname for Richard—a name meaning “fellow”—but which by the late 1800s, had taken on the additional meaning of “penis” (which is certainly part of a fellow) in British army slang.
By the late 60s, American college students had extended the meaning of dork to refer to a socially awkward person. While at first this sense of dork carried pejorative connotations, the term has since been “taken back” by the people it once so cruelly described, and now can even be given as a compliment. If a girl calls a guy “adorkable” (the combination of “dork” and “adorable”), she means to say he is cute in a socially awkward, yet endearing way.
Geeks and nerds, while still dorky, are generally considered more intelligent than dorks. Next time you call someone a dork think about its short history in the English language, and reflect upon what a word nerd you are.

popular references for dork


King Dork: A coming-of-age novel by Frank Portman, first published in 2006.
—Son of Dork: A pop punk band from the U.K.
Dork Tower: An online comic by John Kovalic.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

How to use dork in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for dork

dork
/ (dɔːk) /

noun slang

a stupid or incompetent person
US a penis

Derived forms of dork

dorky, adjective

Word Origin for dork

C20: of unknown origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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