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See also: Dork


Etymology 1

US 1960s, sense of "silly person" presumably from earlier use as bowdlerization of dick (penis) in student slang, particularly Midwest.[1][2][3][4]

Alternative etymology derives from dialectal Norwegian dorg (a mass; heap; a heavy, dimwitted, slovenly person).



dork (plural dorks)

  1. (derogatory, slang) A quirky, silly and/or stupid, socially inept person, or one who is out of touch with contemporary trends and typically has unfashionable hobbies. Often confused with nerd and geek, but does not imply the same level of intelligence. [from the 20th c.]
    • 1962, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Last year at Marienbad, page 167:
      I entitled the piece "Dorky", dork being slang for a person who does not belong to popular groups, usually an outsider, an odd person, sometimes inept, other times cranky.
    • 1967, Don Moser and Jerry Cohen, The Pied Piper of Tucson:[1][4]
      I didn’t have any clothes and I had short hair and looked like a dork. Girls wouldn’t go out with me.
  2. (vulgar, slang) The penis. [from the 20th c.]
    • 1962, Jerome Weidman, The Sound of Bow Bells, page 362:
      As a matter of fact, this slob was full of information today. He told me why we Jews have different dorks.
    • 1986, Stephen King, It:
      "You’re dead, Trashmouth," Vince “Boogers” Taliendo told him, pulling his jock up over a dork roughly the size and shape of an anemic peanut.
    • 2005, Mike Judge, Reading Sucks: The Collected Works of Beavis and Butthead:
      "There's that dork whose wife cut off his dork." And when people ask him for an autograph he writes, "Best of luck to Betsy. Signed, the guy whose wife cut off his penis."
Usage notes

Narrowly used to indicate someone inept or out of touch, broadly used to mean simply “silly, foolish”; compare doofus, twit.

Derived terms

See also

Etymology 2

Uncertain; apparently from Scots. See dirk.


dork (plural dorks)

  1. (archaic) Alternative form of dirk (a long dagger)


  1. 1.0 1.1 dork”,, Dave Wilton, Sunday, June 11, 2006.
  2. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2023), “dork”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.
  3. ^ Lawrence Poston, “Some Problems in the Study of Campus Slang,” American Speech 39, no. 2 (May 1964) (JSTOR 453113): p. 118.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Historical Dictionary of American Slang, v. 1, A-G, edited by Jonathan Lighter (New York: Random House, 1994), p. 638.