Dork - n. 1. A stupid or inept person 2. The penis
Probably one of the most fascinating aspects of the english langauge is the turnover rate in the meaning and popularity of slang words. It coudl be argued (if I wanted to do the research and find proofs) taht regionalist dialects still exists - for example, the phonetic pronunciation of the word "Saturday" in the Orillia area is "Seerday." Of course the regionalist dialects of 19th century america and the regionalist dialects of today are not really the same thing, certain simmiliarites can be drawn between the two. In my own personal experience, I moved from Owen Sound to Wiarton. The two towns are not more twenty-five minutes apart from each-other by car. Owen sound is also the largest town in the vicinity - legally, it's a city, but that information is not pertinant to my discourses. Owen Sound services the larger Grey-Bruce area, with a combined population of nearly 100,000 people (I generated that number in one of two ways - for those alumni of West Hill Secondary School - Mr. Donald stlye - for those alumni of the B-3 era - Alex Fike style .. they're really the same thing). Thusly Owen sound is a bit of a melting pot of local dialects, expecially in the case of the rural high school West Hill, of which I graduated. When I moved to wiarton, I thought I was prepared for the way people spoke there, but i was in fact dissarmed by listening to my Step-father. It took me nearly three years that "Pertineer" actually meant "Pretty near," as if in "close to." And much to my surprise, upon telling this story to a friend of mine who happens to be a farmer from the other end of the county, this word was familiar to her. Our discussion lead to other such words people use - and I discovered that there were "hick slang" words she knew that I did not. This is simply to demonstrate that, in fact, a certain form of regionalist dialect still exists, mostly in slang terms.
Let us take for example the word "shit." In a traditional sense, it refers to a defication, or the act thereof. However, in the terms of slang, it can mean quite a lot. I recommend doing a search of the word at www.dictionary.com
. The internet, however, prooves ineffective by not providing an exhaustive list of the slang definitions of the word. Dictionary.com tells us that shit is "Something considered disgusting, of poor quality, foolish, or otherwise totally unacceptable." However, it fails to mention that it can, in fact, mean quite the opposite. For example, "Yo, this stir fry is the shit!" means that somebody has prepared a delictable mixture of vegtables and meat fried in a pan and then combined with rice.
This brings me to the word "dork." The definition provided by dictionary.com (seen above) is indeed even less exhaustive than that of the word "Shit."
It is safe to assume that most of are not refering to "the penis" when saying "dork." Which penis is implied by this definition, I do not know. The inclusion of the word "the" seems to suggest that it refers to one specifically, but I cannot say which. Thus, we can dismiss this definition as both out of date and non-sensical.
The other definition provided says that a Dork is a "stupid or inept person." Personally I do not find this definition to be adequit. What is a Dork then? the porper definition is best seen in context when compared to two other, simmilar words: Geek and Nerd.
Dictionary.com provides the definitions of these words as follows:
Nerd - a foolish, inept or unattractive person
Geek - A person regarded as foolish, inept, or clumsy.
It is clear from these common definitions that Nerds and Geeks are in fact sub-sets of Dorks, merely with added unfortunate characteristics.
It is however important to note the origin of the word Geek - a geek is in fact "A carnival performer whose show consists of bizarre acts, such as biting the head off a live chicken." This is obviously not the same as the above definition, and although an act such as biting off a chicken's head my be disturbing and unethical, it has nothing to do with being clumsy (unless you were trying, in fact, to bite off said chicken's foot). The "tradition geek" does not fit in with our examination of slang and the trinity of Dork-Nerd-Geek, and thus must also be disregarded.
Unfortunetly, Geeks and Nerds are not in fact subsets of the Dork at all, but rather sperate entities. It is often easy to confuse the three words when trying to capture the true essence of their meaning, since the definitions that will follow are in fact interchangeable, depending on the regionality you are in and what their dialect dictates. It is also important to note that the meanings may shift in the region from generation to generation according to the influence of mass-media and any large centers of slang generation in the area. (Consider, for example, the progression of the words "da bomb." Although a tired expression in this day and age, it was once popular in the city centres and slowly radiated outwards from there. It would reach smaller centers like Owen Sound approximately one year after it had gained popularity in the city centre. From there it would spread to the rural communities surrounding that smaller center. Say it takes three years for an expression to reach Marathon Ontario. One person from Marathon may come to the city-centre, the progeny of the slang term and say "da bomb" expecting to be on the cutting edge, when, in fact, they are three years behind the times and have just said something outdated and thusly "un-cool".)
Traditionally, in the Owen Sound slang dialect, the definitions of Geek, Nerd and Dork are as follows:
Nerd - The highest order of the trinity. These are your sterotyped intellects with "no friends" and pocket protectors. I must admit that this particular definition seems to have been influenced by the movie "Revenge of the Nerds." The nerd is not in fact friendless, thier superior intellect just inhibits them from preforming proper social interations. Their time is focused mostly on study and they follow good virtue. They do tend to gravitate towards one another and, indeed, become friends. They thusly create a clique that further creates a rift between them and the rest of the population. They are known for having little fashion sense.
Geek - This is a term reserved for those who are not socially awkward or particularily un-bathed. They will admit, sometimes in secret or sometimes publicly that they enjoy science fiction and, yes, they played Magic: The Gathering once upon a time (It is important to note that some geeks may be dodging the fact that they, in fact, still do play Magic: The Gathering). They enjoy bad films and discussing them intellegently. The geek, contrary to popular demand, works well in a social environment. Although they may not be as socially active as other social groups, they still attend parties and partake in the carnal delights (ie. sex, drugs and/or rock and roll). A geek can be hard to spot because people of other social sets (Including the "Jock," the traditional nemesis of the Geek-Nerd-Dork trinity) can easily take part in geek-like activity.
Dork - A dork is the unintellegent fool who does not bathe properly. The dork seems to be the character type that the dictionary definitions seem to be trying to describe.
Unfortunetly, these definitions, as stated, are in a state of flux. Most notably is the word dork. In modern popular culture, it seems to be taking on another defintion, on that closely resembles the owen sound definition of "gee." This is occuring because of the influence of modern popular media such as the website www.homestarrunner.com
, wherein a chacter known as Strong Bad frequently uses the word "Dork." Though he accuses his younger Brother Strong Sad to be a dork, Strong Bad himself comes across as a Dork as well. He enjoys making fun of people, is poular, and yet boasts constantly of how he is an expert with "the ladies" when he in fact has yet to once successfuly woo a female character (He did trick one into admitting that she was romantically interested in her by asking "Do you don't not like not strong bad?" teh grammatical syntax of this sentence, however, is responisble for her answer, not her true feelings). Strong Bad will further go on to spend an irrational amount of time at his computer and later pretend to be in space while driving a cardboard box. He also has odd fascinations with both video games and dragons - activities he would attribute to his "Dork" brother stong sad. All of these activities fit under the Owen Sound defintion of "Geek"
So, in conclusion, Stu Bell is still a dork.