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Geek

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Geek

Postby Stargzer » Thu Jul 07, 2005 8:25 am

I'm a bit surprised no one has suggested this one yet. The second definition is the original.

Chickens beware!

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.

geek

PRONUNCIATION: gēk

NOUN: Slang 1a. A person regarded as foolish, inept, or clumsy. b. A person who is single-minded or accomplished in scientific or technical pursuits but is felt to be socially inept. 2. A carnival performer whose show consists of bizarre acts, such as biting the head off a live chicken.


ETYMOLOGY: Perhaps alteration of dialectal geck, fool, from Low German gek, from Middle Low German.

OTHER FORMS: geek'y —ADJECTIVE

OUR LIVING LANGUAGE: Our word geek is now chiefly associated with student and computer slang; one probably thinks first of a computer geek. In origin, however, it is one of the words American English borrowed from the vocabulary of the circus, which was a much more significant source of entertainment in the United States in the 19th and early 20th century than it is now. Large numbers of traveling circuses left a cultural legacy in various and sometimes unexpected ways. For example, Superman and other comic book superheroes owe much of their look to circus acrobats, who were similarly costumed in capes and tights. The circus sideshow is the source of the word geek, “a performer who engaged in bizarre acts, such as biting the head off a live chicken.” We also owe the word ballyhoo to the circus; its ultimate origin is unknown, but in the late 1800s it referred to a flamboyant free musical performance conducted outside a circus with the goal of luring customers to buy tickets to the inside shows. Other words and expressions with circus origins include bandwagon (coined by P.T. Barnum in 1855) and Siamese twin.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by the Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Regards//Larry

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Postby Brazilian dude » Thu Jul 07, 2005 10:37 am

WS asked something about it in the other forum.

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Languages rule!
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Postby Stargzer » Thu Jul 07, 2005 12:09 pm

What inspired this suggestion was a co-worker, who said this morning that one of her favorite quotes was "The geek shall inherit the Earth." When I told her the original definition of geek, she replied "Ewwww!" So did a bystander in the hallway. :wink:

So, does this mean a Computer Geek is a computer-controlled automoton employed by the likes of Tyson Foods an Perdue Farms?
Regards//Larry

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-- Attributed to Richard Henry Lee
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Postby uncronopio » Fri Jul 08, 2005 2:19 am

Another definition by Eric Raymond is here. Actually, his jargon dictionary is quite interesting.
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