There are two types of people in this world: the kind who will follow that line of thinking, and those who live to defy it. I think geeks and nerds are both typically the types of people who fall into the latter category. But in my interpretation of the words “geek” and “nerd,” there is a distinction. That isn’t to say one person couldn’t be both either, either. (Yeah, I dropped a double either on you. Deal with it!)
So let me begin with my definition of the words. Geek relates to passions. Nerd relates to knowledge.
My biggest “geek” is PC gaming. I’ve been geeking out about DayZ most recently, but have been known to geek out on StarCraft 2, Team Fortress 2, MineCraft, and many more in recent times. While I’m a geek about these things and, by proxy, a bit of a nerd as well, I know enough to know that I’m probably not really much of a nerd about any one thing—except perhaps the films The Fifth Element and Donnie Darko, the bands Nine Inch Nails and Tool, and perhaps the inner workings of computers (I can build them myself from factory-shipped pieces).
As a Nine Inch Nails geek, I own all of their albums and CD singles (yes, the complete Halo collection). I’ve seen them in concert five times. That makes me a geek. But the fact that I can tell you about the meaning of certain songs, and could probably from memory alone recreate every studio album's track listing makes me a bit of a nerd. Where as a real Nine Inch Nails nerd could probably tell you who performed what instrument on each track, what recording facility they were recorded at, the exact release date for each album, and where and when each international tour started and ended.
You’ve probably met a few geeks and nerds in your life—and are likely some kind of mixture of the two yourself if you’ve bothering to read this—but here are more examples to help hit home my point.
My father geeks out for the Montreal Canadiens, the New York Yankees, and the New York Giants. My brother geeks out for the New York Yankees, but he can remember up-to-date stats for players on teams he doesn’t even geek out for—so to me he’s a baseball nerd. My mother is an arts and crafts geek who geeks out for flea markets, one-of-a-kind shows and third world bazaars. My mom is also the best mom in the whole world so by default is also a nerd when it comes to the subject of parenting and motherhood.
So hopefully you now understand how I’ve come to use and feel about the words geek and nerd. Adapt your own definitions accordingly.
Love, hugs & kisses