`geek’

This is a word mostly used in informal contexts, and it has several different meanings. One of the meanings of `geek’ is a boring individual who walks around wearing rather unfashionable clothes. This person has little or no social skills.

*You must be nuts to ask a geek like Govind tips about fashion. *I don’t want you to invite that geek Harish to our party. .

An individual who is an expert, or is very knowledgeable in his limited area of interest (for example, computers) can also be called a geek. He is someone whose focus of interest is rather narrow, but he knows everything about the subject.

*If it is a computer geek you require, you’d better hire Dravid. He’s excellent. *I want to learn everything on my own. I don’t want some geek telling me everything.

I understand the word comes from the Dutch `geck’ which means `fool’. It is in this sense that Shakespeare used the word in some of his plays. In the 1920s, the Americans used the word `geek’ to refer to an individual in a carnival who performed bizarre acts. The original `geek’ was someone who entertained his audience by biting off a live chicken’s/snake’s head! With the passage of time, the word began to be used to refer to anyone who was socially inept; whose interests were very different from those of others.

Source: ‘Know Your English’ (The Hindu) – October 23, 2006

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