- a person considered to be socially awkward, boring, unstylish, etc.
- an intelligent but single-minded person obsessed with a nonsocial hobby or pursuit: a computer nerd.
Origin of nerd
An Americanism dating back to 1950–55; obscurely derived expressive formation
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- a variant spelling of nerd
- a boring or unpopular person, esp one obsessed with something specifieda computer nerd
- a stupid and feeble person
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
1951, U.S. student slang, probably an alteration of 1940s slang nert "stupid or crazy person," itself an alteration of nut. The word turns up in a Dr. Seuss book from 1950 ("If I Ran the Zoo"), which may have contributed to its rise.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper