It seems there's no agreement in french forums what is the right translation.

People brought up


but others claimed those are degoratory and inaccurate terms, and more about internet trolling, and proposed

un informaniaque or un ordinaccro


which of those is in wide use? or perhaps french people use the English words?

  • 5
    I'm french and never heard pingouin in that context, and never heard "informaniaque" or "ordinaccro" at all. "trolleur" or just "troll" is used to mean troll, just as in English. – Pierre Oct 8 '19 at 8:32
  • @Pierre what about "nul"? linguee.com translates nerd as nul : "Would you view your friend as an oddball, a drag, or a nerd?" - Considèreriez-vous votre ami/e comme quelqu'un de farfelu, casse-pieds ou nul ? – bebe Oct 8 '19 at 8:49
  • Being nul usually means being bad at something, I don't see any matter with geek or nerd here. – user20904 Oct 8 '19 at 8:59
  • 1
    For quite a lot of people nerds and geeks are different (debate here or here, plenty more out there). We usually welcome one question at a time, so you should have two different questions. Moreover the question about geek had already been asked. I hesitated on the reason for closing, it could have been for the "too broad" reason. – None Oct 8 '19 at 10:02
  • @bebe as others replied, "nul" can be used for anything. Either to say being bad at something, or plain, uninteresting, boring... In that sense it could be used as "looser", so in some contexts replace a pejorative use of nerd/geek. But it never holds the positive sides of those words (passionate for nerd, technical for geek). – Pierre Oct 8 '19 at 12:47

Geek is commonly understood in french (at least by < 60 years) and should be the word to use 90% of time (and almost always when linked to IT/computers/videogames), you can say also 'passionné d'informatique' or 'fan de spider-man'.

  • 'Geek' is mainly used for computer/IT in France but could be use in the same way than in US/UK for most young people.
  • 'Passionné' might be use with anything
  • 'fan' is more linked to music/movies/characters

Nerd is not really used in france (but's seems to be use in Quebec). One translation could be for France/Belgium:

'neuneu' or 'neuneu informaticien'

Please note that this is pejorative, and usually not said to the Nerd people directly (at least when you don't know him/her)

  • Nerd is used in Quebec french. Maybe even more than geek. Connotation is a bit more around school results than hacking abilities, though. – Jeffrey Oct 8 '19 at 18:52
  • You're right, I edited the post to add this – ludelle Oct 9 '19 at 16:06

We indeed use the english word geek, however nerd is probably less widely used.

I don't see any good translation in french, that's often the case with IT related words, for example Cloud or Machine learning are used almost all the time in english.


Le mot « geek » est fréquemment employé littéralement en France. Cependant, je ne recommande pas son utilisation, comme beaucoup d'autres mots anglais, parce que les phrases perdent leur clarté et leur intelligibilité.

Le mot « troll » par exemple est employé à mauvais escient pour exprimer des significations variables et subjectives.

Autre exemple, le « PC » désigne un ordinateur ayant une architecture de type IBM PC. C'est l'abréviation anglaise de « Personal Computer » ce qui signifie littéralement « ordinateur personnel ». Pourtant, on entends fréquemment des personnes dire « je préfère avoir un Mac plutôt qu'un PC ».

Mon avis est qu'on perd des connections (sens, analogie...) entre le mot et la langue française.

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