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Traditionally used in a derogatory fashion to refer to an intellectual person who became overly absorbed in his or her studies, nowadays the word has been liberated by the geek community and conveys an image of sensitivity, good humor and intelligence, with perhaps a dash of aloofness.

While people of many pursuits can be considered geeks, the term generally refers to those interested in computers. Some geeks are also hackers, but others are simply people employed in the computing industry or who maintain a slightly higher than casual interest in new developments.

Contrast to “nerd”, which is generally still used in a derogatory sense, though some geeks take it to be somewhat of an endearing term.

Turning points for the term’s meaning may have come when the CEO of Microsoft Bill Gates, a geek, became the richest man in the world or as the computer revolution gave everyone e-mail.

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