Find out where the term “nerd” comes from.




Series like Big Bang Theory helped make nerds more attractive

Series like Big Bang Theory helped make nerds more attractive

Photo: The Big Bang Theory / Reproduction

On May 25, popular culture fans celebrated “Nerd Pride DayThe expression, currently used to describe the huge tribe of fans of comics, fantasy, fantasy, anime, games and many other things, has not always been associated with something “modern” or socially positive.

In Brazil, the expression has become popular in comedy “Revenge of the nerds‘, from 1984, which included a group of college incompetents who were tired of being excluded, found their own fraternity. Not smart but clumsy, cowardly and lacking in social graces, the geeks were exactly the role models – it took a long time for that image to change.

Here, before the term “foreign” became popular, it was common to call these people “CDF” (short for “Iron Head”, in the friendlier version).

But even the movie doesn’t explain where the expression “Nerd” came from. The most accepted theory comes from the technology lab of Canadian company Northern Electric, known as Nortel.



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Long “A Vingança dos Nerds” brought the term “nerd” to Brazil

Photo: Morbid Revenge / Reproduction

Nortel’s R&D department was made up of smart and dedicated engineers, technicians and researchers who spent nights working on their software and data analysis… Colleagues in other areas teased them for being too smart but socially impolite was the English name of this department “Northern Electric Research and Development Company‘, abbreviated to ‘NERD’.

Although it is a popular theory, not all linguists agree with it. The Oxford Dictionary, for example, states that the first mention of the term “nerd” dates back to 1951, in an article in Newsweek.

From pejorative to prevalent



Geeks like Steve Wozniak, co-founder of the Macintosh, have shaped today's world

Geeks like Steve Wozniak, co-founder of the Macintosh, have shaped today’s world

Photo: reproduction

Anyway, the term nerd has been used for decades to refer to men who are smart but clumsy, shy, and weird. This is one of the Cambridge dictionary definitions of the word:A person, especially a man, who is unattractive or socially awkward“.

Kinda like Marty McFly’s father at first Back to the future.

The term is also used, even today, to refer to certain hobbies such as role-playing games, comics, or miniature drawing, among others, as “nerd stuff”. Geeks in general are passionate and even obsessed with their hobbies.

TV series The Big Bang Theory Bringing these Lab nerds, with all their troubles, into the spotlight, showing that they can also be charismatic, fun and, in some cases, lovable — it’s not a show that has stood the test of time well, but it helped improve the show a bit. Morbid image and acceptance It’s okay to be an adult and like superheroes or medieval fantasy, play video games and learn how to speak in fantasy languages ​​like in Stark Trek.



Henry Cavill is one of the biggest geeks in Hollywood right now.

Henry Cavill is one of the biggest geeks in Hollywood right now.

Photo: Disclosure

So Nerd Pride Day has its value in helping to show that these feelings are not to be ashamed of. In fact, society itself has become more accepting of geeks over time and the growth of the Internet and the information economy.

Big Hollywood stars like Vin Diesel and Henry Cavill are outright geeks, as are all of the bigwigs in Silicon Valley from Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg to Elon Musk.

Superhero movies bring millions of people to the movies, and events like Comic-Con no longer attract only a handful of nerds to follow with avid fans around the world. Nerds have conquered the mainstream, both in movies, games, television, and technology.

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