A Quick Guide to Geek Speak
It is probably fair to say if you are reading this article on this website then you are likely to be well versed in terms used by us geeks and nerds. But since being a geek or a nerd became so much cooler over the last 10 years there may be some among you who are new to it or simply don’t know where a lot of the common terms came from. After all, one definition of a geek is very different from another. You may know everything there is to know about Marvel, but do you know your Leet Speak from your Easter Eggs? If not, then read on fellow geek and let’s get nerdy!
The inspiration for this came from an odd place, an online English language website offering advanced English lessons and in doing that covered some interesting geeky terms.
But they didn’t go far enough and there is so much more to enjoy!
Let’s start with a big one. A lot of people use this term but have no idea where it came from and how it came about. It was actually a gaming typo from the World of Warcraft MMORPG. When a computer-based character killed a player it would say “ XXXX has been owned” but there was a typo and it said “pwned” instead. This obviously stuck immediately in the gaming world because any kind of bug or error is always funny. It then spread throughout the gaming world and into normal speech too.
You can now use the word when talking to people in real life and anyone even vaguely into geekdom will know what you mean. “That curry just pwned me!!” or perhaps you may know someone who has entered some kind of sporting competition and lost; they got pwned!
Yes, we know that you know what an easter egg is when it comes to the chocolate variety but what about the other kind? Easter Eggs are secret images, items or references that appear in games, movies, TV shows and basically any kind of geeky medium. They can be hidden weapons or amusing little items stashed in a tricky part of a game but can also be items placed in the background of a movie referencing another medium. But where did the name come from?
Well, it all started in the film The Rocky Horror Picture Show in the 70s. The cast of the film apparently had an easter egg hunt…as you do, and failed to find a number of the eggs. These eggs subsequently appeared in various shots in the film and so the term was born. However, it didn’t really catch on for many years afterwards. If you are still struggling with the concept, then try this:
For many people, this is not an uncommon word and a lot of you will use it in online messages or even in person but its roots lay deep within geek culture. For those not familiar with this word it is a general word of celebration – “I have a whole day off to play COD; Woot!” or “Woot, my Amazon order just arrived”. But where did it come from?
Well, it all started in the world on Dungeons and Dragons style role-playing board games. While perhaps a symptom of the 80s and 90s board gaming is still pretty big news but most people don’t know this is where it came from. When someone found some treasure or loot they would say “Wow, loot!” which was soon shortened to simply “woot!”. Since then it has been completely removed from its origins in both meaning and use but that the way that triple chocolate peanut cookie crumbles.
This is a complicated one. It is also a sign of a true nerd because it actually takes time to learn and cannot be simply picked up by a passing snap chat convo. Leet is a form of writing where some of the letters in a word are replaced by numbers or other letters that happen to make a similar sound.
The whole system actually came from 80s hacking culture where hackers had to create different words to avoid being picked up in keyword searches. It then found new life in the classic FPS Doom where people would use leet to suggest they were a hacker so people would fear them. It has then moved on to be used in general gaming culture to describe various people, to talk in a kind of code and just to generally be a bit of a geek.
“l33t sp34k” is a big thing for those in the gaming world that choose to use it but a number of snippets do find their way into more general online culture. If you really want to learn it try this.
This one can be used as a bit of an insult but is also common “banter” among friends. You may well have come across this one, but it is still worth looking at. A Fanboy or Fangirl is someone who loves something so much they are totally incapable of hearing or entertaining any kind of negative thoughts about it. They are very easy to wind up in an argument; it is a simple case of saying something bad about their chosen obsession and watch them go round and round arguing how wrong you are.
They can be a fan of literally anything, but Apple Fanboys are a very common example. When the iPhone and the MacBooks first came out they were unparalleled but as other tech has caught up, there are still a hardcore of people that believe Apple does everything better. These fanboys will simply not let anyone suggest anything Apple has done is anything short of perfect. Even if a new iPhone burst into flames when you looked at it they would find a way of saying it was cool. Music fanboys can be equally common, fans of certain bands will simply not hear of any other opinions other than those that agree with them and their obsession.
These are just a few interesting geek terms that are pretty common but knowing a bit of background makes them a lot more interesting and it allows you to geek out the geeks by giving them the background history the next time they say Woot!!