A glossary of geek, from nerdrage to fandom
Like any subculture, geek culture has its own terminology. A lot of it is self-explanatory, but some of it requires some foreknowledge or insight to really understand. Naturally, most geeks reading this will have that terminology on lockdown, but for the merely geek-curious, it can all be a bit confusing. In hopes of clearing up at least some of that confusion -- there's a lot of geek slang out there, and covering it all would be impossible -- a glossary of geek speak seemed in order. Read on, and learn to speak the language of my people.
Danielle Lirette What's this called? Read on...
Geek/Nerd: Most people agree the terms are interchangeable and have a mild, largely arbitrary preference for one or the other. A small, but militant, group of nerds and geeks will tell you they are most definitely not interchangeable, even though none of them can agree on the difference. If you find yourself in the presence of one of these people, it's best to just express mild agreement with whichever definition they prefer, lest they spend the next hour passionately trying to convince you they're right.
Fandom: A term for any grouping of geeks based on what they like, such as Dr. Who or role-playing games. It's possible, almost inevitable, to belong to multiple fandoms, and for them to overlap or even contain one another (e.g. Star Trek fandom is a subset of science-fiction fandom). Also the collective noun for geeks, as in, "Hey, look, it's a fandom of geeks next to that herd of cows. One of them will be able to lend us a ten-sided die."
Fanboy/Fangirl: Someone whose love for a specific fandom has reached a level of irrational exuberance and/or blind allegiance. Be careful expressing criticism of whatever their favorite thing is or they may become agitated, even violent, and/or force you to engage in a marathon session of that activity to "show you what you're missing." Actually, be careful of praising it, too, for basically the same reasons.
Keep reading for more key geek terms