When a character is ''primarily'' a {{Nerd}} (or possibly {{Geek}}), but still manages to pull off feats of {{Action Hero}}ism, then they are a Nerd Action Hero.

Sometimes this is the result of CharacterDevelopment, where the character starts out as a {{Nerd}} but over time develops heroic skills. In other cases the character is a HiddenBadass.

Sometimes a NerdActionHero may be paired with an ActionGirl, and aforementioned CharacterDevelopment may occur as a result of their interaction.

There is an overlap with BadassBookworm, but many of those are badass first and bookworm only as a bonus. There can also be an overlap with ScienceHero, but a NerdActionHero tends to do more ordinary ActionHero things (shooting, fighting, jumping, etc.) when the action starts.

For characters who generally take GuileHero or TheSmartGuy roles to the point where viewers might even forget they're devastatingly effective at getting physical, they might have MinoredInAssKicking.


* Yomiko Readman of ''Anime/ReadOrDie''.
* Throughout the ''LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya'' series, due to all the strange things that happen to Kyon, he develops into this. However, after a while, he leaves things to Yuki. After the ''Disappearance (Vanishment)'' movie, though, Kyon has the ability to bargain with aliens that have godlike powers.
* Ishida Uryuu from ''Manga/{{Bleach}}''.
* Izuku Midoriya from ''Manga/MyHeroAcademia''.

* Valierie from ''ComicBook/DangerGirl'' is a {{Nerd}} first and an ActionGirl second, so she qualifies. Abbey, on the other hand, is an ActionGirl first and bookworm second.
* Mr. Fantastic of the ''ComicBook/FantasticFour'' qualifies, DependingOnTheWriter.

* The main protagonist in ''Film/TheLibrarian'' starts out as an overage student who doesn't know when it's time to stop accumulating degrees and get a job instead--quite nerdy. Then he gets a job which requires him to be the hero.
* Franchise/IndianaJones would probably appear as this to one of his students or neighbors, as college professor = nerd, but since we in the audience mostly get to see him in the field he probably doesn't qualify.
** His father from ''[[Film/IndianaJonesAndTheLastCrusade The Last Crusade]]'', though, is a more traditional archaeologist and not suited for the antics that Indiana finds himself in. He still manages a few brilliant feats.
* Milo Thatch in ''Disney/AtlantisTheLostEmpire'' starts out as an out-and-out nerd, but [[TookALevelInBadass mans up]] and leads the final assault on the bad guys.
* All the main characters from ''Film/TheLastLovecraftRelicOfCthulhu'' qualify, but top marks must go to Paul, who leads the bad guys away to save the two remaining heroes, gets knocked out, backflips out a window, and then runs across the desert with two broken arms, before asking for some dynamite be shoved down his pants so he doesn't feel left out.
* In ''Film/BrokenArrow1996'' Terry attacks one of Deakins's henchmen who she assumes is just a computer nerd, but finds out the hard way that he's a former Navy SEAL. Not enough is revealed about him to put him firmly in either this or the BadassBookworm camp.

* Creator/NealStephenson is fond of these:
** ''Literature/{{Cryptonomicon}}'': Randy Waterhouse spends most of the book as a pretty ordinary computer programmer, even though the fact that much of his company's business is in the Philippines brings some travel. At the end however, [[spoiler:he gets thrown in prison for a while]], develops some badass, and comes out as a fully-capable action hero just in time for the FinalBattle.
** ''Literature/SnowCrash'': Hiro Protagonist is a programmer who in real life is pretty close to broke (after having failed his pizza delivery job) and lives in a self-storage facility, although he also own a pretty large chunk of prime real-estate in cyberspace (think IP address block) on account of having been one of the guys who created it. As it happens, he is ''also'' the greatest swordfighter in the world (though he mostly gets to demonstrate it in cyberspace) and turns out to be good at other acts of {{Action Hero}}ism as well.
** ''Literature/{{Zodiac}}'': Sangamon Taylor is an analytical chemist who spends most of his time (most of the words in the book, anyway) looking for traces of compounds with covalent chlorine (and other toxins), and talking to people about these issues. He ''also'' engages in a lot of spy-like activities (covert intelligence gathering, sabotage, misdirection, etc.) ''before'' the action gets really hot.
* Professor William Race of ''Temple'' by Creator/MatthewReilly definitely qualifies.
* Although in his own narration, [[Literature/TheDresdenFiles Harry Dresden]] portrays himself as a hardboiled detective, narration from his friends in side stories reveals [[UnreliableNarrator he's really more this trope]]. Karrin Murphy in particular makes note of how things like his height can be either "awkward" or "imposing" and his pop-culture knowledge can come off as clever quips or like a fact-checking nerd. She figures that being the kid who grew too tall before he got coordination is what made him such a stalwart defender of the weak: he's a BullyHunter at heart.
* ''Discworld/{{Sourcery}}'' has Nijel, a weedy kid who's taking a CorrespondenceCourse in heroism (of the [[ThudAndBlunder barbarian variety]]) and [[TookALevelInBadass ends up being pretty good at it]]. Good enough to run off with Conina, daughter of the Disc's most famous hero.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Series/{{Chuck}} is a textbook example. Complete with ActionGirl girlfriend.
* Daniel Jackson of ''Series/StargateSG1'' eventually developed into this.
* As did Rodney [=McKay=] of ''Series/StargateAtlantis'', who started out ejecting the clip from his gun while attempting to fire it to carrying and effectively wielding a P-90 and acting just as physically competent as Sheppard, the Lt. Colonel team leader.
* Harry Sullivan of ''Series/DoctorWho'' is mostly an awkwardly old-fashioned [[BoardingSchool ex-public school]] medical doctor, although with a military past. He is, however, mostly useful in his stories when he and the Doctor sneak up on two aliens and punch them in the back of the neck, and other such feats. (He was originally supposed to be a BadassBookworm to compliment a frail and elderly Doctor but Creator/TomBaker was unexpectedly cast instead, and CastSpeciation forced Harry into focusing primarily on his old-fashioned doctor traits while still providing backup for the Doctor in action scenes.)
* ScottWolter of ''AmericaUnearthed'' fame is often described as a "real-life Indiana Jones", he's a Forensic Geologist investigating archeological mysteries.
* Wesley's character development across ''Series/{{Angel}}'' tracks his development from pure book nerd to wannabe badass to actual badass...who is still happiest when buried in books.
* This trope is all over the place in Series/TheFlash2014, especially in Team Flash. Cisco is a GadgeteerGenius who has some combat training (and picks up metahuman powers as well), [[spoiler: ''both'' versions of Harrison Wells are pretty badass]], and Patty Spivot is an {{Adorkable}} police detective who enjoys reading Barry's lab reports [[spoiler: and leaves to become a CSI herself]]. Barry Allen himself evenly splits the difference between being a {{Nerd}} and an ActionHero -- he catches bad guys both as a CSI tech and as the Flash.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Ernie Eaglebeak of ''VideoGame/TheSpellcastingSeries''. He's got an atomic dragon and a sea monster on his tally, plus, you know, saving the world a few times.
* Filia from ''VideoGame/{{Skullgirls}}''.
* Gordon Freeman from the ''VideoGame/HalfLife'' series. He's a theoretical physicist who, in the course of an experiment, accidentally opens a portal through which aliens start pouring out, devastating the laboratory he's stuck in. He quickly becomes an ActionSurvivor, fighting his way through the aliens and the human military sent there as a cover-up operation.
* Judging by their quotes (such as Lightning Bolt! Lightning Bolt), Taser [[EliteMooks Specials]] from ''VideoGame/{{Payday2}}'' are a mix between this, NominalHero and HeroAntagonist.
* Both Lloyd and Jeff from the ''Videogame/{{MOTHER}}'' series are perfectly capable of taking out the bad guys despite not having any Psychic powers like their companions.
* Gaige in ''VideoGame/Borderlands2'' is a Nerd Action AntiHero who is just as capable of running around [[DeathWorld Pandora]] with a huge Torgue rocket launcher or shotgun as Krieg (who's nearly a foot taller than her, with washboard abs that are [[WalkingShirtlessScene permanently on display]]). Of her three skill trees, Ordered Chaos is the most Action Hero-y, with a focus on hurling inaccurate but devastatingly powerful bullets at people, and science is mostly applied for the purpose of making the traditional violence more effective (such as using digistruct technology to create claws with which to rip people's faces off).

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* John from ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'' is quite the geek through and through (mostly about [[TheMovieBuff terrible movies]], but also generally) and is generally something of TheFool, but as the comic evolves, he manages some pretty damn badass stuff.
** Then there's his [[spoiler:ectobiological father]], Jake English, who ''thinks'' he's a HollywoodActionHero but is let down by such traits as his massive enthusiasm for every movie that has ever been made and his bizarre fusion of AntiquatedLinguistics and [[SophisticatedAsHell random profanity]].

[[folder:Web Original]]
* WebVideo/TheAngryVideoGameNerd may be a stereotypical geek, but when he has to deal with entities that threaten his life, he sure knows how to use a light gun.
* Jericho of the Literature/WhateleyUniverse is BlackAndNerdy. He's an inventor at [[SuperheroSchool Whateley Academy]]. He's working on power armor designed to help firemen and emergency medical technicians in combat areas. But he's also on a training team with Eldritch, Diamondback and Razorback. This training team is widely felt to be the scariest team on campus.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Dexter in ''WesternAnimation/DextersLaboratory'' has his moments in the show, being a super scientist with an assortment of cool [[GiantMecha robots]] and [[GadgeteerGenius gadgets]], but it really becomes true for his FutureBadass version seen in ''[[TheMovie Ego Trip]]''.
* Pretty much the entire cast of ''Disney/BigHero6'', but ''especially'' Hiro Hamada.