dork / geek / nerd

Yaya

Senior Member
USA, English
I was just curious if there were any simple translations for these. All of them basically mean the same thing in English (to me). thanks

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  • Eddie

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Hi, Yaya!

    Oddly enough, geek is used in French. But two French words can be considered equivalents of all three terms: pingouin or trolleur. I'm sure my illustrious colleagues will provide you with even more equivalents.

    [...]
     
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    Benjy

    Senior Member
    English - English
    isnt a trolleur/pingouin more used to describe someone who "trolls" a forum?
    ps this is a gues and not an affirmation.. just prom what i've seem reading a few french gaming forums.
     

    Eddie

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Benjy,

    We certainly need to do a bit more research on these slang words. I ony quoted the words used by a few French speakers where they used geek and pingouin/trolleur interchangeably. I'm waiting for input from our native French participants on this forum.

    Ed
     

    Nico5992

    Senior Member
    France (French)
    Benjy said:
    isnt a trolleur/pingouin more used to describe someone who "trolls" a forum?
    ps this is a gues and not an affirmation.. just prom what i've seem reading a few french gaming forums.
    I'd say that benjy is absolutely right. I've never heard "trolleur" nor "geek" in any conversation. I guess it's only used on French forums, with which I'm not familiar enough to confirm the meaning of these words.
    "Pingouin" you might hear once in a while, but it's meant to mock someone's outfit, if he wears a very posh suit (a tailcoat for example).
     

    fetchezlavache

    Senior Member
    france
    but a geek, as in a computer geek, can't be meaning the same as 'trolleur' can it ? is a 'trolleur' someone who 'trolls' on fora ? i'm totally ignorant of french fora. odd. i'd like a clarification of what these words mean in english please, if someone can help me out here.

    ps never heard 'geek' in french at all.
     

    fetchezlavache

    Senior Member
    france
    hmmmmmf. j'ai toujours cru qu'un 'geek' ((notamment dans son acception 'computer geek )) c'était une sorte de fanatique dans son domaine, au point d'en oublier tout le reste. pas forcément intello. mais je n'ai aucune certitude <hangs head in shame>
     

    Eddie

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Fetchez,

    This is for you. I may have quoted the wrong words (from a Frenchman), but I have no doubt as to the meaning of these words in English since they originated in the United States.

    The words nerd, geek, dork, dweeb, etc. are first of all insults used primarily by teenagers and young adults to demean any of the members of their peer group whom they do not accept. These words existed before the era of universal ownership of computers. During that time, nerds and geeks were those who were wedded to their computer games and their joysticks. The only distinction between these words is the addition of the word computer: a computer nerd, a computer geek. One does not, however, say a computer dork/dweeb.

    These social outcasts are typically thought of as dull socially. They are often bookworms that like technical work and are generally introspective. This is a term coined in the 80's to describe intelligent but socially inept people. The term is often associated with Bill Gates.

    A nerd and a geek, as used in reference to computer and/or web fanatics (such as myself), is an intellectually inclined person, especially one who is interested in scientific or technical subjects. He is a person who has chosen concentration rather than conformity; one who pursues skill (especially technical skill) and imagination, not mainstream social acceptance.It was originally a deprecatory and contemptuous term,as I stated above, but in the 1990s, with the increase in popularity of computers and the frequency of accumulation of great wealth by computer entrepreneurs, it has come to be used with noticeable frequency by technically competent people to refer to themselves, ironically and sometimes proudly.

    While nerd and geek seem to have become associated with informatics, dork and dweeb retain their original connotation of social unacceptability.

    [...]
     
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    Benjy

    Senior Member
    English - English
    i serverly doubt that you will find a better explination of those terms elsewhere. big thumbs up from me.
     
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    Cath.S.

    Senior Member
    français de France
    Thank you Eddie, you hit the nail on the head!
    The words nerd, geek, dork, dweeb, etc. are first of all insults used primarily by teenagers and young adults to demean any of the members of their peer group whom they do not accept.
    So what do you people think of "petit intello coincé" now, when not talking about computers?
     

    OlivierG

    Senior Member
    France / Français
    I agree. I never heard neither "pingouin" nor "trolleur" in French, and geek is only understood by ... geeks.
    I'd use instead "un fondu/mordu d'info[rmatique]".

    I propose a new word: "un informaniaque" ou un "ordinaccro" . ;)
     

    Cath.S.

    Senior Member
    français de France
    Intello has nothing to do with intelligence, it is the rather derogatory short for ""intellectuel" in the mouth of people who prefer not to read books unless they really have to, say. In fact those kinds of people often think they are more intelligent than "intellectuels"
     

    fetchezlavache

    Senior Member
    france
    egueule said:
    En français, la seule chose qui me vienne à l'esprit, c'est "petit intello coincé", just to get the ball rolling!

    je n'ai jamais utilisé 'intello' comme une insulte, et ne le ferai jamais, contrairement à l'usage général.

    eddie thanks a billion for the explanation ! :)
     

    Yaya

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    great replies everyone, thank you for the help..

    j'avais oublié le mot intello, je me rappelle d'avoir vu un film ou il y avait une fille dans une école et à chaque fois qu'elle levait la main les autres enfants se moquaient d'elle en chantant "intello, intello, intello" mais j'arrive pas à trouver le nom de ce film.. c'était avec audrey tautou peut-être.. mais cela ne réduit pas trop les films français qui sont sortis aux Etats-Unis!
     

    lucylovesmarmite

    Member
    English, UK
    i looked up dork in the dictionary, and it gave me "pauvre type". i'm looking to use the word in some french homework (dialogue) to refer to another class member - using dork/geek/nerd to say that they spend too much time in front of computers. i'm english not american so maybe we use it differently here...
     

    mariemarie

    New Member
    France
    Je vous propose "tétard" ... très utilisé à Lyon - Grenoble en tous cas. Je n'ai jamais entendu dire "trolleur", vraiment jamais. "Pingouin" se comprend bien (surtout si le type travaille sous Linux).
     

    Apotropaique

    Member
    France
    "intello" is derogatory for "intellectuel", and seems IMO quite close to "nerd".
    "bookworm" would be translated as "rat de bibliothèque" (litterally, "library rat").
    I'm more used to the word "nerd" (in elementary school, the little boy with glasses who reads books & doesn't go out playing with the others kids) than "geek" or "dork", but I suppose that if they really are exactly the same, than "intello" is the best translation.
    Intello is doubtlessly derogatory, although, of course, people who like reading & stuff might be proud of qualifying themselves as "intellos", although, as in "computer geeks" (or, for that manner, "nigger"), they do it ironically.
    On the whole, the term seems to be less used in French than in English.
    "Petit intello coincé" is a bit too much. "Coincé" (litt. stuck) may also be used for a girl (or a boy, but mostly females as it has a sexual connotation); but it may also be used for posh people (too polite and distant to be friendly). Whatever the case, "intello coincé" seems a pleonasm, and "petit intello" would rather refer to the construction "petit con" (little asshole), but doesn't seems really appropriate.
    Funny, I know this word (nerd) since a long time, but I've never thought it was really translatable, although "intello" of course designs more or less the same thing. I just think it's lot more used in AE than in French, where other insults might be preferred.
     

    mgarizona

    Senior Member
    US - American English
    in case anyone is interested in etymologies:

    Dork derives from 'dirk' (poignard) which became first a euphemism for a penis and later for an imbecile. (The same way today you can call a man an idiot by calling him a 'dick' or a 'prick'.)

    Geek was originally 'geck' and comes from a Dutch word meaning "to play tricks on." So a geek was a credulous person, someone easily fooled. The depths to which such people sink is illustrated in the use of 'geek' among carnival folk for a performer whose act consisted of biting the head off a live chicken or snake.

    Nerd is a modern word of no certain origin. Dr. Seuss has a character called a Nerd in one of his books but suggests no characteristics for it. I like the story that the word started out at the Renssaleer Polytechnic Institute as 'knurd,' which is the word 'drunk' spelt backwards. The only consistant aspects of its use is that it is always a term of contempt.
     

    eole

    New Member
    Belgium
    Hi all,

    I'm from Belgium and i have personnally never heard about 'trolleur', while 'pingouin' would rather refer for me (like it's been said by one of you) to a posh stiff-necked upperclass yuppie or so.
    But there is a term quite frequently used amongst the people i know in Brussels that i think is pretty appropriate... Un "nerd", c'est un "krypton". Je pense que ce terme désigne assez bien ce type assez répandu d'individus à lunettes, renfermés, inintéressants, passionnés d'informatique, friands de problèmes de physique et de sites pornos.
    Voilà pour ma contribution,
    en vous saluant,
    thanks.
     

    Bostonien

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    I'm very happy to see a discussion on this issue that always turns out to be more complex than people first realize.

    Eddie's treatment of the subject was exemplary. I would only add that for me, geek and nerd are no longer quite the same thing (though they were fairly equivalent once upon a time). The term geek has for some reason evolved beyond nerd in a way that's similar to how both terms first distinguished themselves from dork, dweeb, etc.

    Geek is the term most likely to be co-opted by geeks themselves in a (sometimes successful) effort to take a derogatory term and make it a source of empowerment and/or pride. (Not terribly dissimilar from African-Americans using racial slurs to refer to one another.)

    There's still a certain amount of negativity (social ineptitude, physically unattractive, overly intellectual) in the images associated with nerd, whereas geek is evolving to mean someone who devotes themselves to something that many consider strange or otherwise unworthy of such devotion. The pursuit or area in question does not necessarily have to be particularly intellectual or technical in nature (although it commonly is). What's key is that the person has achieved an inordinate level of proficiency or knowledge in an area that, again many people view as not being worth the time or effort.

    Note that in dubs of American TV shows, I have heard "geek/nerd" translated as "pauvre type" and "ringard".
     

    Beefsteak

    New Member
    English and United States
    Hi all,

    Just a note... geek, nerd, dork, dweeb are used frequently by kids just joking around. It is playful banter that does not truly relate to their appearance or interests. Yes, in the U.S., we call people who appear with glasses, that alway carry books, who always do well in the classroom "nerds". Dork, even though my mother couldn't stand the word because of it's original meaning, refers to someone who is being intentionally silly or unintentionally. And of course as mentioned before, "geek" has taken on a cyber meaning.

    As a teacher, students still use the terms interchangeably as a means of teasing one another. To truly insult one another, kids today use a much more vivid vocabulary.

    I still am unsure as to what to say when teasing someone about being a "geek", "dork" or "nerd" en français.
     

    ebolamunkee

    New Member
    English, United States
    Nerd is a modern word of no certain origin. Dr. Seuss has a character called a Nerd in one of his books but suggests no characteristics for it. I like the story that the word started out at the Renssaleer Polytechnic Institute as 'knurd,' which is the word 'drunk' spelt backwards. The only consistant aspects of its use is that it is always a term of contempt.

    I disagree—I consider myself a nerd, and often use it with a degree of pride, and I know plenty of other people who do as well. Most people I know use it as a term to describe somebody who is into "nerdy" things, like Dungeons & Dragons, computers, video games, Warhammer, Magic, movies like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, etc, (and is often not only interested but obsessed with these things) but is not necessarily socially inept, as well as one to describe a "bookish" person who has no social skills. It's probably important to note that this use of the word is mostly by people who consider themselves nerds in that way.

    I looked this up because I need to describe myself as a nerd in French, to explain for my homework why I like Star Wars. I may end up just using the English word with quotation marks, since I'm not sure what the most appropriate translation would be...
     

    mgarizona

    Senior Member
    US - American English
    I disagree—I consider myself a nerd, and often use it with a degree of pride, and I know plenty of other people who do as well. Most people I know use it as a term to describe somebody who is into "nerdy" things, like Dungeons & Dragons, computers, video games, Warhammer, Magic, movies like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, etc, (and is often not only interested but obsessed with these things) but is not necessarily socially inept, as well as one to describe a "bookish" person who has no social skills. It's probably important to note that this use of the word is mostly by people who consider themselves nerds in that way.

    I looked this up because I need to describe myself as a nerd in French, to explain for my homework why I like Star Wars. I may end up just using the English word with quotation marks, since I'm not sure what the most appropriate translation would be...

    The fact that you wear the epithet "with pride" does not change the fact that it is, in general parlance, a term of contempt. As a like pride does not change the fact for self-identifying punks or queers or 'niggahz.' I salute your pride of course, but I stand by my analysis.
     

    Papillon15

    Member
    English
    ce n'est pas exactement pareil, mais moi je propose le mot Taré(e). ça veut dire plutôt "bizarre," ou "weirdo" mais quand-même on a un tendance d'associer les mots comme dork, geek, et nerd avec "Weirdo."
     

    ebolamunkee

    New Member
    English, United States
    The fact that you wear the epithet "with pride" does not change the fact that it is, in general parlance, a term of contempt. As a like pride does not change the fact for self-identifying punks or queers or 'niggahz.' I salute your pride of course, but I stand by my analysis.

    This is very true. I was pointing out that there's a difference between words which are merely insults, and words that were once only insults, but have been "reclaimed" by the people they refer to. "Queer" is a term of pride for homosexuals, but "fag" is still just an insult.

    You're still right... But there's a small distinction there.
     

    Fred_C

    Senior Member
    Français
    Je vous propose "tétard" ... très utilisé à Lyon - Grenoble en tous cas. Je n'ai jamais entendu dire "trolleur", vraiment jamais. "Pingouin" se comprend bien (surtout si le type travaille sous Linux).
    Tétard, c'est assez bon. Je connais aussi le mot "polar", qui signifie "polarisé sur les études ou tout autre sujet". Mais je ne sais pas s'il est régional. S'il ne l'est pas, peut-être convient-il bien au vu des explications exhaustives ci-dessus.
     

    crèmeglacée

    New Member
    Ha i've always used "cave" in these situations....I dont know where I got this from... I've used it as a noun or an adjective
    i.e.: -Il est très cave (he's very nerdy)
    -Je ne voulais pas apparaitre cave (I didn't want to seem dorky)
    -Il est un cave (He's a geek)
    -C'est trop cave poir moi (It's too nerdy for me)
     

    Keigan

    Senior Member
    français Canada
    Ha i've always used "cave" in these situations....I dont know where I got this from... I've used it as a noun or an adjective
    i.e.: -Il est très cave (he's very nerdy)
    -Je ne voulais pas apparaitre cave (I didn't want to seem dorky)
    -Il est un cave (He's a geek)
    -C'est trop cave poir moi (It's too nerdy for me)

    "Cave" surely works very well in most cases, but that's exclusively used in Canada. In standard French, it means someone who is not a native from the region and who can easily be fooled. It's also a very informal word (argot).
     

    cariosus

    New Member
    American English - USA
    in case anyone is interested in etymologies:

    Dork derives from 'dirk' (poignard) which became first a euphemism for a penis and later for an imbecile. (The same way today you can call a man an idiot by calling him a 'dick' or a 'prick'.)

    Geek was originally 'geck' and comes from a Dutch word meaning "to play tricks on." So a geek was a credulous person, someone easily fooled. The depths to which such people sink is illustrated in the use of 'geek' among carnival folk for a performer whose act consisted of biting the head off a live chicken or snake.

    Nerd is a modern word of no certain origin. Dr. Seuss has a character called a Nerd in one of his books but suggests no characteristics for it. I like the story that the word started out at the Renssaleer Polytechnic Institute as 'knurd,' which is the word 'drunk' spelt backwards. The only consistant aspects of its use is that it is always a term of contempt.

    Thanks. I found this really interesting. I think these words mean slightly different things for everyone. I do and I speak American English as well.

    Dork - I think that this could mean anyone, but it is usually when one makes a stupid mistake. But it's the least derogatory. not nearly as derogatory as calling a man a "dick" (which I think is used more to imply he is mean rather than stupid.) I think it would be more likely to be called this by a friend than someone you don't know well.
    Geek - This is used for someone who doesn't have good social skills or street smarts. (They don't have to be book smart.)
    Nerd - An intelligent person that is usually also a geek.

    I see these words as being very distinct from each other.
    so ... I have a question about "dork." I think it can be used playfully almost like "silly" and I was wondering if there are words that are equal to this in French and if they're used often? sorry I can't explain it very well.
     

    Gez

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    Quand j'étais au collège (en Bretagne, du côté de Rennes, au cas où le dialecte local influerait), les termes employés étaient "matheux", "intello" (péjoratifs), "bosseur" et "bûcheur" (neutre) et "boule" (mélioratif).


    I think it can be used playfully almost like "silly" and I was wondering if there are words that are equal to this in French and if they're used often? sorry I can't explain it very well.
    Idiot is the one that springs to mind, with "béta" and especially "gros béta" in a more childish vocabulary.
     

    MaXuS [fr<->en]

    New Member
    France
    Quand j'étais au collège (en Bretagne, du côté de Rennes, au cas où le dialecte local influerait), les termes employés étaient "matheux", "intello" (péjoratifs), "bosseur" et "bûcheur" (neutre) et "boule" (mélioratif).

    It seems pretty old to me. ;)
    But I think it's well-spread in France so I suppose it would be a good translation.

    Tétard, c'est assez bon. Je connais aussi le mot "polar", qui signifie "polarisé sur les études ou tout autre sujet". Mais je ne sais pas s'il est régional. S'il ne l'est pas, peut-être convient-il bien au vu des explications exhaustives ci-dessus.

    I live in the South of France (student) and I ve heard the words "tetard" and "polar" (mainly the second) but I think it belongs to students and other people wouldn t understand it.
    In standard french, "polar" means "thriller" (and has of course no negative connotation).

    I'm from Belgium and i have personnally never heard about 'trolleur', while 'pingouin' would rather refer for me (like it's been said by one of you) to a posh stiff-necked upperclass yuppie or so.

    I'm from France and I would agree with your translation of "pingouin". I've heard "trolleur" or "troll" but it refered to someone "trolling" a forum ("Don't feed the troll." -> "Ne jettes pas d'huile sur le feu.")

    Un "nerd", c'est un "krypton". Je pense que ce terme désigne assez bien ce type assez répandu d'individus à lunettes, renfermés, inintéressants, passionnés d'informatique, friands de problèmes de physique et de sites pornos.

    I've only heard it once. I believe it's not a word everyone would be aware of...

    "intello" is derogatory for "intellectuel", and seems IMO quite close to "nerd".
    "bookworm" would be translated as "rat de bibliothèque" (litterally, "library rat").
    I'm more used to the word "nerd" (in elementary school, the little boy with glasses who reads books & doesn't go out playing with the others kids) than "geek" or "dork", but I suppose that if they really are exactly the same, than "intello" is the best translation.
    Intello is doubtlessly derogatory, although, of course, people who like reading & stuff might be proud of qualifying themselves as "intellos", although, as in "computer geeks" (or, for that manner, "nigger"), they do it ironically.
    On the whole, the term seems to be less used in French than in English.

    I fully agree.
    Everybody knows the word "intello" and it seems very close to "nerd".


    For "geek" (I believe that il would always be understood as "computer geek" in France) I can only think of "fou d'informatique" which seems to be used by a lot of dubbing teams. Yet, I don t think it has the same negative connotation as "geek".
     

    ponyboy

    Senior Member
    U.S. English
    Dork - I think that this could mean anyone, but it is usually when one makes a stupid mistake. But it's the least derogatory. not nearly as derogatory as calling a man a "dick" (which I think is used more to imply he is mean rather than stupid.) I think it would be more likely to be called this by a friend than someone you don't know well.
    Geek - This is used for someone who doesn't have good social skills or street smarts. (They don't have to be book smart.)
    Nerd - An intelligent person that is usually also a geek.

    i absolutely agree that these words do very slightly in meaning. i very rarely use them interchangeably.

    dork - nothing to do with being smart. socially awkward or dopey.
    geek - this is the most derogatory of the three, i think. socially awkward, has skills that others don't care about. it makes me think of someone who plays dungeons & dragons online.
    nerd - this is the most positive of the three, and refers more than the rest to intelligence, i.e., instead of having D&D skills, someone who has skills in what is considered "high culture". someone who is smart, maybe a bit gawky, but i think that there's certainly implied jealousy or admiration when it's used as an insult.
     

    lucylovesmarmite

    Member
    English, UK
    Thanks. I found this really interesting. I think these words mean slightly different things for everyone. I do and I speak American English as well.

    Dork - I think that this could mean anyone, but it is usually when one makes a stupid mistake. But it's the least derogatory. not nearly as derogatory as calling a man a "dick" (which I think is used more to imply he is mean rather than stupid.) I think it would be more likely to be called this by a friend than someone you don't know well.
    Geek - This is used for someone who doesn't have good social skills or street smarts. (They don't have to be book smart.)
    Nerd - An intelligent person that is usually also a geek.

    I see these words as being very distinct from each other.
    so ... I have a question about "dork." I think it can be used playfully almost like "silly" and I was wondering if there are words that are equal to this in French and if they're used often? sorry I can't explain it very well.


    I live in the UK, and am still in school, and here we consider a dork to be more of a social misfit than someone who is stupid. I'd disagree with what you said about only using it to refer to people you know, in fact i see it most often used degrogatively against someone outside the social circle.
    A geek tends to be someone who tries too hard at school and lacks social skills.
     
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