Slang dictionary


[ uh-dawrk-uh-buhl ]

What does adorkable mean?

Adorkable is an informal adjective used to describe someone as being cute or likable due in part to having characteristics considered “dorky,” such as being a bit awkward or having unusual interests.

The word is a combination of the sense of adorable meaning “cute” or “charming” and the word dork, which is generally used in the same way as words like nerd and geek—to refer to someone considered a bit socially awkward, unstylish, etc.

While words like dork and nerd are used both negatively and positively, adorkable is always used positively. It implies that a person’s quirky characteristics are part of what makes them charming or appealing.

Example: The shy, adorkable little sister became the most popular character on the show.

Related words

zoomies, pretty sus, the proof is in the pudding, power couple

Where does adorkable come from?

image of adorkable girl

The word adorkable is a combination of adorable, meaning “cute” or “charming,” and dork, which is generally used in the same way as nerd and geek in reference to someone who doesn’t conform to societal standards of coolness.

The word adorkable seems to have emerged in the early 2000s, but its exact origin is uncertain. Early uses of the term often applied to celebrities and fictional characters that fans found likable in part because of their social awkwardness.

Adorkable was further popularized in the early 2010s by the TV Show New Girl. The word was frequently used in marketing of the show to describe the show and specifically its titular character, played by Zooey Deschanel (to whom the term was also frequently applied in media reports and by some fans).

Examples of adorkable

I absolutely love this scene when Tony and Peter Parker first meet. Great comedic timing and Tom Holland was adorkable. #CaptainAmericaCivilWar
@FilmFatale_NYC, February 10, 2018
Couldn’t the New Girl producers have given Jess a more clever, genuinely adorkable job, like working for a greeting-card company or being a department-store Santa’s elf?
Juli Weiner, Vanity Fair, September 2011

Who uses adorkable?

Adorkable is always used positively by people who intend it as a compliment.

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This is not meant to be a formal definition of adorkable like most terms we define on, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of adorkable that will help our users expand their word mastery.