What Does NERD Mean in a Text?

The term NERD is generally accepted to describe a "clever but socially awkward person." Of note, however, NERD is quickly moving away from a word with a negative connotation (i.e., to brand someone as uncool). Recently, NERD has evolved into a more positive term that simply describes someone with a passion for something (i.e., a science NERD, a music NERD, or a food NERD). It is even starting to take on a cool edge, and increasingly more people are happy to have themselves labelled as a NERD.

Image for NERD

When I write NERD, I mean this:

meaning of NERD

A NERD is someone who excels in a subject deemed to be uncool.

Summary of Key Points

Definition for NERD

NERD means "Clever but socially awkward person." This is the most common meaning for NERD on social-media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat.
Definition:Clever but socially awkward person
Type:Slang Word (Jargon)
Guessability:guessability level 1
1: Easy to guess
Typical Users:typical user

Adults and Teenagers

Examples of NERD in Sentences

Here are examples of NERD being used in conversations:
  • Tony: Hey, have you been watching the new series about space?
  • Jordan: No, NERD. I have a social life.
  • (Here, NERD is offered with a negative connotation.)
  • Tony: Can you fix my PC please. You're an IT NERD.
  • Jordan: Of course.
  • Tony: You're a star. Thanks.
  • (Here, NERD is offered with a positive connotation.)

An Academic Look at NERD

NERD is used as a noun (i.e., a naming word). For example:
  • You are the biggest Maths NERD I've ever met.
  • (Here, NERD is being used as a noun.)

What Did We Say before Texting and Social Media?

Before the 1950s, when NERD was first introduced into society, we might have said something like "drip" or "square" instead of NERD.

Example of NERD Used in a Text

author logo

This page is maintained by the Cyber Definitions Editorial Team.

Help Us Improve Cyber Definitions

  • Do you disagree with something on this page?
  • Did you spot a typo?
  • Do you know a slang term that we've missed?
Please tell us using this form.


Try our fun quiz to test your knowledge of slang and texting abbreviations.
gold cup

gold cup

gold cup

  • This test has questions.
  • A correct answer is worth 5 points.
  • You can get up to 5 bonus points for a speedy answer.
  • Some questions demand more than one answer. You must get every part right.
  • Beware! Wrong answers score 0 points.
  • 🏆 If you beat one of the top 3 scores, you will be invited to apply for the Hall of Fame.
Scoring System

Cyber Guru (+)
Cyber Hero (+)
Cyber Captain (+)
Cyber Sergeant (+)
Cyber Recruit (+)