How Geeks Have Evolved Over Time

When one thinks about a “geek,” one often thinks of someone of a higher level of intelligence, one who is interested in advanced technology. As this infographic shares, the origin of this word can be found in the 1500s from a word meaning fool, and another word from the 1700s from a word affiliated with circus performers who were known to bite the heads off of live chickens. Oh how this word has changed.

As seen in the movie and book¬†October Sky, when the modern term was coined, the spin of a football was more interesting than the spin of a rocket. Those who were more interested in the spin of a rocket were not “popular.” Now, it is a term sought by “popular” “hipsters.” One considers himself or herself a geek if they wear (google “geek selfie”).

What other words to your students use today that had a different meaning just a decade ago? Remember the popular word “radical?” What did it take to be considered radical a century ago? What is the origin of other words we use today?


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