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[[quoteright:350:[[Film/RevengeOfTheNerds http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/revengenerds_699.jpg]]]]
->''"If you wanna be a nerd like me, you gotta make some unique sacrifices: No physical fitness, no social popularity, and most importantly -- ''([[AdjustingYourGlasses adjusts specs]])'' --no girls. Nerds before birds."''
-->--'''Nerd''', ''Film/AngryVideoGameNerdTheMovie''

A Nerd is someone who... actually, it is easier to describe a nerd as what they are ''not.'' Not smooth, not handsome, and not someone you would instantly describe as 'attractive'. Not, above all else, ''popular'' outside a very narrow grouping of fellow-nerds. They are oftentimes a walking, talking fashion-disaster. One definition of a nerd is someone who not only didn't attend his high school prom, but would be puzzled or even offended at the suggestion that he would want to. [[HollywoodNerd Most nerds portrayed in the media actually fail this test]], but real-life nerd Creator/JossWhedon passes.

The term gets conflated with {{geek}} fairly frequently, as it happens that a nerd can be fairly obsessive/informed about a particular topic. The nerdiest nerd is a nerd who isn't even a {{geek}}.

One of the odd features of the nerd on TV is that they will be over-formally dressed (probably as a result of the HollywoodDressCode) usually, at ''least'' a plaid polo shirt and slacks. In fact, in real life, both nerds and {{geek}}s tend to dress ''more'' casually than the average person, because they usually don't care as much about clothes or appearances. The hyper-formality is likely due to another stigma - that nerds let their parents dress them. There sure are some nerds whose clothes would fit the stereotype, though.

A nerd is typically portrayed as a pasty, weak, [[GeekPhysiques scrawny]], guy or gal with NerdGlasses and/or a NerdyInhaler. They are [[ExtremeDoormat bullied by the jocks]], CannotSpitItOut if a member of the opposite sex is anywhere within range, and are working on odd projects in their basements and garages. Geek girls (and some guys) will have [[QuirkyCurls super frizzy hair]], if it's not done up in GirlishPigtails (the girls, not the guys). They may also be obese, instead of scrawny.

These are the nerd stereotypes that were most prevalent in the 70s and 80s, the ones that feature in movies like ''Film/RevengeOfTheNerds'', the sort that Bill Gates and Steve Jobs looked like back in the day. ...Okay, Gates still looks kinda like that, but he's a billionaire now, wanna make something of it? You would think the nerds ruling the world nowadays would make this a DiscreditedTrope, but there's enough TruthInTelevision to GeekPhysiques to keep this one running.

Like with {{Geek}}, the definition of a nerd is not set in stone and can vary greatly depending on context. For instance, Fonzie’s earliest uses of the term implied somebody who was average and middle class, in contrast to his own streetwise survival and fighting skills. Dr. Seuss’ nerd was a nonsensical (and grouchy-looking) animal in his zoo.

See also {{Geek}}, AsianAndNerdy, BlackAndNerdy, HollywoodNerd. Contrast {{Nerdcore}}. Related to IJustWantToHaveFriends when the nerd wants to be more popular. If you're looking for the musical about Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, it's at: Theatre/{{Nerds}}.

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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Konata Izumi of ''LuckyStar'' is a self-described hardcore geek, despite being inexplicably athletic.
* Umino Gurio ("Melvin" in TheNineties dub of the [[Anime/SailorMoon first anime]]), Usagi ("Serena") and Naru ("Molly")'s classmate in ''Franchise/SailorMoon''. Originally the girls are creeped out by him whenever he shows up, to only later find out he's a decent guy - he and Naru end up dating. And according to WordOfGod, he's actually completely {{Bishonen}} [[BeautifulAllAlong under his swirly glasses]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Fic]]
* Andy from ''Fanfic/CalvinAndHobbesTheSeries''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* ''Film/NapoleonDynamite'' is pure nerd. No {{geek}}-ness at all, no skills, knowledge or, quite possibly, any understanding that there might be such things as skill and knowledge.
* The movie series ''RevengeOfTheNerds'', which describe themselves as including the Nerd, the Geek and the Spazz as their heroes (not to mention the slob, in Booger's case).
* ''Film/BackToTheFuture'' Part I: Marty's father, before Marty goes back to 1955 and while he's in 1955.
* JerryLewis played a ComicBooks nerd in ''Artists and Models''. An early example.
* ''Film/TheGamers'' not only knows its subject very well, but also has many in-jokes that only D&D players will get, the first one more than the second one. Both have a cast that was probably cast from D&D players (though some in the second movie are doubtful). It is often referred to as "A D&D movie that mocks D&D players." Jen Page (aka female Luster) was at the time of filming an editor at Wizards of the Coast.
* ''Film/LiveFreeOrDieHard'': "the Warlock", a notorious hacker, is played by Kevin Smith. Yes, ''that'' [[TheViewAskewniverse Kevin Smith]]. Then the KidSidekick is played by Justin Long with his "gonna get beat up in high school" looks. The villain has a team of pizza eating mini-Smith working for him but he himself, meant to be the uber-hacker, is a very sharply dressed Timothy Olyphant with a hot [[EverybodyWasKungFuFighting kung fu fighting]] [[ActionGirl assassin girlfriend]]. However the contrast with those two and everyone else just underlines EvilIsSexy.
* The three main characters in ''{{Superbad}}'' all look like believable teenage outcasts. In fact even the popular cute girls in the movie are only normal-school pretty rather than drop dead gorgeous models.
* The two computer hackers David (Matthew Broderick) consults in ''WarGames.''. One of the nerds in the above mention was played by EddieDeezen who built his entire career playing nerds starting in the late 70s in such films as ''{{Grease}}'', ''IWannaHoldYourHand'' and ''NineteenFortyOne''.
* ''Film/RealGenius'' shows a wide variety of nerds. Most of the physics students are nerds, including an AsianAndNerdy student, a BasementDweller (sort of), and a TeenGenius. Chris Knight (Val Kilmer), however, is handsome, witty, and outgoing.
* ''Film/MaxKnightUltraSpy'' has this in droves. The villain (Creator/SethGreen) is an uber hacker who, along with his girl posse and various followers, looks and acts like contenders for "the popular kids of the popular kids at high school", and the story takes place at one point at a party that seems to mix hip-hop, R'n'B and rave, people drink out of test tubes, and you have to prove your superior intelligence to get in. You meet one awkward, sweaty nerd (who gets shot down by the female lead) near the start, and the female lead's MacguffinGirl sister is a borderline case (until the villain takes off her glasses and lets down her hair).
* The eponymous character of ''Film/{{Adam}}'', due to his AspergerSyndrome.
* Alan from ''Film/SummerSchool''. He's average looking, an academic underachiever in a family of overachievers, has poor social skills, and speaks in a high, weird voice.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Note the Geeky Wobbler's ambitions in Creator/TerryPratchett's ''Literature/JohnnyAndTheBomb'': "Wobbler wanted to be a nerd, but they wouldn't let him join. He wanted to be the kid in a deformed anorak and milk-bottom glasses who designs killer software and is a millionaire at thirty. Failing that he'd settle for being someone whose computer [[WalkingTechbane didn't smell of burning plastic whenever he touched it]]."
* Any and all Creator/JohnGreen character. Take your pick. It shouldn't surprise you, given that the guy co-runs a massively popular Website/YouTube channel devoted to nerd advocacy.
* Another Pratchett example: Nijel the Barbarian in ''Discworld/{{Sourcery}}'', a scrawny, pimply teenager with ambitions to become a BarbarianHero.
* Eli from ''Literature/TheGeeksShallInheritTheEarth''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/FamilyMatters''' Steve Urkel and ''Series/SavedByTheBell's'' Screech are the flagships for the male version. Also see his nerdy girlfriend Violet, played by Tori Spelling in NerdGlasses and ugly hairstyle. Steve Urkel's nerdiness is played up even more; his dress style, high pitched voiced and total social awkwardness.
* All the Geeks in ''Beauty And The Geek'', at least to start with. After the obligatory makeover episode some of them clean up quite nicely. (The show is more about nerds than geeks, but "geek" is phonetically closer to "beast" than "nerd.")
* All the geeks of ''FreaksAndGeeks''. (''FreaksAndGeeks'' featured nerds more than {{geek}}s, mostly because ''freaks'' and ''nerds'' don't rhyme.)
* ''Series/TheBigBangTheory''.
** Played straight with Amy Farrah Fowler.
** Basically the entire cast (save for Penny).
* Stuart Minkus on ''Series/BoyMeetsWorld''. In the episode, ''Cory's Alternative Friends'', Cory decides that he wants to change his hairstyle, but it takes a turn for the worse, leading him to join a group of social outcasts who eat lunch together and have no desire to be normal.
* Owen Pronsky from ''LessThanPerfect'' is a classic example, complete with NerdGlasses, social ineptness and overall weirdness. Also, he sells office supplies for a living.
* ''Series/{{Dollhouse}}''
** Dr. Claire Saunders. Yes, she's played by Creator/AmyAcker but she also has serious facial scars. However their visibility seems to vary from episode to episode.
** Topher on the other hand personifies this trope, though even he isn't exactly unattractive.
** Also heavily lampshaded with Doctor Bennett Halverson, Summer Glau's character. She's so drop dead gorgeous (except for the gimp arm, and that's really not that bad) that Topher assumes she is a doll who "broke" and was imprinted with some important skills - but proves otherwise. Also slightly subverted in a later episode, when we see Bennett at school before a friend gave her a makeover. She's still far from what any sane person would call ugly, but combined with her personality her geekiness becomes believable.
* ''Series/{{Alias}}'''s Marshall Flinkman.
* Malcolm from the ''Series/DoctorWho'' special "Planet of the Dead." Very much a Doctor fanboy, too.
* ''Series/{{iCarly}}'' has Freddie himself as a straight example. Especially in season 1 when the actor's voice hadn't changed and he was shorter than the actresses playing Carly and Sam (to the point of needing a ScullyBox pair of shoes). In the episode 1 of season 2, when Freddie enters, Sam asks "What happened to your voice?" and Freddie replies "I dunno, puberty?" Season 4 he's become a full blown HotScientist as the actor is now nearly 18, spent time in the off-season break working out and is all muscled up.
* "Doc" Soto in ''Series/{{Alcatraz}}'' who when he's not helping catch time traveling criminals runs a comics shop.
* Harold on ''TheRedGreenShow''.
* Garrett and Fat Neil on ''Series/{{Community}}'', the former of whom also has a [[SpeechImpediment pronounced lisp.]]
* Mark Jackson (Gavin Crawford), the teen correspondent for ''Series/ThisHourHas22Minutes'', looks and acts like the stereotypical Type 1 nerd.
* ''Series/{{JAG}}'': Bud describes himself as a Nerd in "The Colonel's Wife".
* ''Series/HouseOfAnubis'': Fabian admits to being one after being lightly teased about it, and Mara also fits- she's obsessed with school, grades, and is the one person in the House who is smarter than Fabian.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Machinima]]
* Machinima/{{Supermarioglitchy4}}: Obviously...Lakitu, the cameraman. [[spoiler:Mario often calls him this, apparently.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* Music/TheyMightBeGiants, kings of the nerd rock genre, wrote a song called "The Mesopotamians", which portrays Sargon, Hammurabi, Ashurbanipal, and Gilgamesh as a cross between Music/TheMonkees and Music/{{Gorillaz}}. It's an allegory of the Beatles ("I thought you crashed your car"), and that no one cares about them anymore... save the geeks.
* The band 2 Skinnee J's first single was titled "[[http://www.mtv.com/videos/2-skinnee-js/308238/riot-nrrrd.jhtml Riot Nrrrd]]"; this title both represents a claim of affiliation with the RiotGrrrl movement and an attempt to "reclaim" the label "nerd."
* Turn on Creator/G4TV and you're more than likely to find a bumper or two of several {{Nerdcore}} rappers rapping about things that [[{{Muggle}} ordinary people]] would find nerdy; e.g. UsefulNotes/ConsoleWars, computer hacking, hell, even just video gaming in general. The bumps appear to be a movement to turn "nerd" into a term of endearment and/or empowerment. The performers include [=YTCracker=], MC Lars, and [=MCFrontalot=], who looks ''a lot'' like the image at the top of this page. Ironically, the majority of G4's programing has nothing to do with what they claim is their intended demographic.
* Are we not men? We are {{Music/Devo}}!
* [[DevinTownsend But Captain Spectacular has seen through Ziltoid's facade, and now sets out to expose Ziltoid for what he really is: a nerd.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Pinball]]
* This is the origin of [[Creator/MidwayGames Bally's]] ''Pinball/DrDude'', who was a computer nerd named "Ben A. Glitch" until he invented the E'''X'''cellent Ray.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games]]
* Myron of VideoGame/{{Fallout 2}}, though he is also far more evil than most other examples here, being the inventor of the drug Jet and having killed countless slaves in testing.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Mindy of ''Webcomic/CinemaBums''. Particularly on subjects related to movies.
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%% Couldn't find where the following occurs. In Dilbert? Not much sign of use of that name online. Needs clarification!
%% * The devil tech fannamed "Devilbert". He's also a rare villainous example, albeit of the PunchclockVillain variety.
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* ''Webcomic/DinosaurComics'': In [[http://www.qwantz.com/archive/001201.html this]] strip, T-Rex conflates nerds and geeks when he speculates that {{God}}'s omniscience must make him the Ultimate Nerd.
* Eric of ''Webcomic/{{Loserz}}''. See [[http://the-qlc.com/loserz/go/64 here]]. He might still be a {{geek}}, though, and later manages to [[spoiler:get a girlfriend and get laid. Wish fulfillment?]].
* Gary of ''Webcomic/MenageA3'' is a {{geek}} with strong nerd tendencies. In fact, he'd probably end up as a full-on {{hikikomori}} if he didn't have some good friends, {{adorkable}} looks, and a strange sexual talent. His geeky lack of social skills veers towards nerdish total incompetence, and at the start of the comic, he'd collapse totally if an attractive woman so much as looked at him. He ''wants'' to have friends and lovers, but didn't have a clue how to get them to start with, and even in later strips he displays a painful lack of initiative in pursuing his options. However, his friends didn't have to clean him up much to produce [[HollywoodNerd quite appealing results]].
* ''Webcomic/QuestionableContent'': Marigold is a pimply MMORPG-addicted nerd with dirty hair and a messy apartment. However, SheCleansUpNicely, like the type 2 HollywoodNerd girl always does, but this could be InformedAttractiveness. Her friends tell her she's BeautifulAllAlong and boys have hit on her, but her artwork hasn't changed, her clothing hasn't changed and her social skills around strange boys CERTAINLY haven't changed.
* The "cloner nerds" from ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'' seem like a pretty extreme example. Then they release a plague that exponentially increases the intelligence of whoever it infects, while ''de''creasing their attractiveness and social skills to the point where they become extremely nerdy [[OurZombiesAreDifferent zombie]] [[NotUsingTheZWord analogues]].
* Ruby of ''Webcomic/StickyDillyBuns'' is arguably a non-standard female example who looks more like a HotLibrarian at first glance. She's quite attractive in HollywoodHomely style, her social ineptitude takes the form of abrasiveness rather than bumbling, she doesn't seem very interested in science or computers (her degree is in Business Administration), and we have no evidence about her physical fitness. However, the glasses, the opinionated attitude, the total lack of ''cool'' (she's downright neurotic), [[NerdsAreVirgins the virginity]], and the privileging of intellect over social relationships, are classic nerd. If she is a nerd, though, she's the sort who {{geek}}s despise, because she tries to use her intelligence for profit rather than for a hobby.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* When Terry of ''KateModern'' joins the Hymn of One, he becomes a cheerful, mild-mannered nerd, complete with a cardigan and, inexplicably, NerdGlasses. [[spoiler:In "Precious Blood" it is revealed that the nerd persona was all an act. One of the first things he does after being discovered is to get rid of the cardigan and [[TheGlassesComeOff the glasses]] - he can see just fine without them]].
* "Bad Decision?", Chapter 2 of ''LG15TheResistance'' features "the sexy nineteen-year-old fact finder also known as... Research Nerd!" (actually Sarah with NerdGlasses, a collared shirt and tie and her hair tied back).
* Spencer from ''{{lonelygirl15}}'' is a scientist who likes to wave a lightsaber around and claims he can't exercise because he suffers from nociception. All together: "What Up, Blogosphere!"
* WebVideo/TheAngryVideoGameNerd. And here, we speak about the character, not the actor James Rolfe, who actually got a life on his own. And even the Nerd character only has the look of nerds in the general, his popularity is immense. Just don't imitate his style in real life.
* WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic has a {{troll}} nerd ("Douchy [=McNitpick=]") who constantly points out the errors in his reviews.
* ''WebVideo/DragonBallZAbridged'' has Piccolo refer to Son Gohan as a nerd, whenever he goes off on a rant.
* In ''WebVideo/{{Doppelganger}}'' nerds form an entire clique. Victor is one and so is Lisa to a lesser extent. However, Victor is ''so'' nerdy [[EvenNerdsHaveStandards even the nerds don't want him.]]
* Pretty much every deviser or gadgeteer at SuperheroSchool Whateley Academy in the WhateleyUniverse. Even the attractive ones (like Bugs and Widget) tend to be obsessive about their inventions, weird in various ways, etc. Bugs has a fascination with the egg, even building inventions into egg shapes.
* [[WebVideo/MatthewSantoro Matt Santoro]] has a very nerdy clone named Eugene, who is socially inept and wears NerdGlasses.
* Cyrus Soliveré of ''Literature/CaelumLex'' is a prodigal engineer who loves his craft a little too much and spends a great deal of time nerding out about engines, sometimes with fellow nerd Adrasteia Atelier.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'':
** The show referenced the difference when Milhouse insists to Bart he's "Not a nerd. Nerds are smart." Which is actually roughly the reverse of the definitions being used here, although "smart" ''is'' an attribute commonly associated with nerds.
** There was an episode where Homer went to college and yelled "Neeerrrd!" at a passing student.
** The same episode introduced the three nerds Benjamin, Doug and Gary.
** In the ShowWithinAShow, ''School of Hard Knockers'', "Nerd" was apparently a catch-all to describe anyone who wasn't a Jock. Basically, taking the ''Series/SavedByTheBell'' viewpoint and then dumbing it down to Homer's level.
* ''WesternAnimation/CodenameKidsNextDoor'': Nerd [[EverythingsDeaderWithZombies zombies]], geeking up over a Yipper card. Of course, they weren't really zombies, just painfully obsessed.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic''
** Episode "Putting Your Hoof Down", has a stereotypically nerdy pony with taped glasses, moustache, unfashionable mane-cut, bowtie, acne, and robot cutie mark. When he buys the last asparagus, which Fluttershy wanted, Rarity tricks him into selling it back to Fluttershy [[DistractedByTheSexy by calling him strong and handsome]].
** A slightly more socially adjusted example is Twilight Sparkle herself.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Recess}}'':
** Gretchen Grundler
** Gus Griswald dresses like one, but isn't really one personality-wise.
** The Pale Kids.
* ''HeyArnold!'' has all Type 1 nerds. Unfortunately there was an episode where Rhonda is forced to wear glasses and is immediately classified as a type 2 nerd despite looking perfectly normal. And this episode was made AFTER ''Literature/HarryPotter'' came out in America.
* ''WesternAnimation/TotalDramaIsland'' has the three geeky guys (Cody, Harold, Noah) who are thin/not in great shape and clearly act geeky, as well as Beth, one of few girls who doesn't look like a supermodel, [[NotGoodWithPeople socially awkward]], NerdGlasses, BracesOfOrthodonticOverkill, and a [[spoiler:not so]] imaginary boyfriend.
* ''FetchWithRuffRuffman'''s Glen, or as he likes to be known as, "Glendalf".
* [[BollywoodNerd Baljeet]], Carl, (Fireside Girl) Gretchen, Irving, and Albert from ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb''.
* ''WesternAnimation/RobotChicken'' has a recurring, unnamed nerd character as one of the most recurring characters in the series, only referred to as simply The Nerd. He frequently daydreams about being part of various odd situations and franchises whenever he appears.
[[/folder]]

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