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The word geek is a slang term originally used to describe eccentric or non-mainstream people, in current use, the word typically connotes an expert or enthusiast obsessed with a hobby or intellectual pursuit. In the past, it had a generally pejorative meaning of a 'peculiar person, especially one who is perceived to be overly intellectual, unfashionable, boring, or socially awkward'. In the 21st century, it was reclaimed and used by many people, especially members of some fandom, as a positive term. Some use the term self-referentially without malice or as a source of pride, often referring simply to 'someone who is interested in a subject (usually intellectual or complex) for its own sake'. The term geek is often used interchangeably with the terms nerd and dweeb. Etymology The word comes from English dialect geek or geck (meaning a 'fool' or 'freak', from Middle Low German Geck). Geck is a standard term in modern German and means 'fool' or 'fop'. The root also survives in the Dutch and Afrikaans adjective gek ('crazy'), as well as some German dialects, like the Alsatian word Gickeleshut ('jester's hat', used during carnival). In 18th century Austria, Gecken were freaks on display in some circuses. In 19th century North America, the term geek referred to a performer in a geek show in a circus, traveling carnival or travelling funfair sideshows (see also freak show). The 1976 edition of the American Heritage Dictionary included only the definition regarding geek shows. This variation of the term was used to comic effect in 1970s TV shows such as Sanford & Son, and Starsky and Hutch.
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