Geek is a term of American English, which means in a pejorative way, an odd person that is perceived as too intellectual. Today, the term has acquired a meliorative and community connotation. With the success of high tech gadgets, a person who likes such an object wants to proclaim itself as a “geek”, although it does not correspond to the first direction (pejorative) or second (computer buff) of the term.
However, the term has expanded rapidly, no longer designating someone with a simple passion for computers, but a passion for many different areas including science fiction, computer, or the fantastic. Since the early twenty-first century, the many definitions that were attributed to the term geek can be summarized by their common point: the geek is the one who escapes with his imagination, that is to say that entertains through the this, by his passionate specific areas (science fiction, fantasy, computer …) in which it has a very precise knowledge, and by inserting in active communities of enthusiasts.
According to the Oxford American Dictionary, the origin of the word is in the Middle High German “Geck”, which means a fool, a mischievous and Dutch “Gek” that means something crazy.
In the eighteenth century, in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the circuses had already Gecken, the freaks, people with deformities, bearded ladies, etc.. Many municipal ordinances prohibiting these buffoons from entering the cities with their monsters or forced them to sleep with the animals in the barns.
There is an acronym, G.E.E.K., which stands for General Electrical Engineering Knowledge. This reputedly comes from the United States Military, and may have contributed to the term’s present day meaning.
Persons have been labeled as or chosen to identify as physics geeks, mathematics geeks, engineering geeks, sci-fi geeks, computer geeks, various science geeks, movie and film geeks (cinephile), comic book geeks, theater geeks, history geeks, music geeks, sport geeks, art geeks, philosophy geeks, literature geeks, historical reenactment geeks, video game geeks, and role play geeks.
We must differentiate geek from the nerd and technophile:
If nerds and geek are sometimes compatible, they are not necessarily synonymous. The hobby of the nerd (usually video games, especially MMORPG) becomes an addiction, occupying a disproportionate share in his life, and goes up to be a hindrance to his employment or his studies. This is not necessarily the case of geek because geeks usually offer a reasonable share of their time to their passion.
“Geek chic” refers to the embracing of stereotypically “geek” characteristics including black-rimmed glasses, T-shirts with geek in-jokes, a body in bad health and technically complex accessories, for example: a smartphone, a calculator…