Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Nerd from Ka-Troo

Webster defines a nerd as:
an unstylish, unattractive, or socially inept person;especially : one slavishly devoted to intellectual or academic pursuits
Want to guess where the first documented use of the word was?   Here's a hint.  You are undoubtedly familiar with his writing.  I bet you like his writing.  I bet you like it here and there.  I bet you like it everywhere.  I bet you'd read it with a mouse.  I bet you'd read it in a house.  Yep!  Our dearly loved Theodore Seuss Geisel, commonly known as Dr. Seuss.

In a story named "If I Ran the Zoo", written in 1950, a little boy describes . . . well . . . what he would do if he ran the zoo.  One of the things he would do is bring in a creature called a nerd from the land of Ka-Troo.  The exact line from the book is:

"“And then, just to show them, I’ll sail to Ka-Troo. And Bring Back an IT-KUTCH, a PREEP and a PROO, a NERKLE, a NERD, and a SEERSUCKER, too!”"
Seuss' Nerd
Word historians (word nerds if you will) say the term caught on with young children who worked it into their vocabulary until it evolved into today's current meaning as an unstylish, unattractive, socially inept person.  

Now I'm going to have Who's from Whoville, talking cats and fish, and Truffula trees stuck in my brain for a few days!  Not a bad thing really!

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