As you can see from the Zazzle keyring that I carry about with my car keys, I’m more than happy to call myself a nerd. In fact, you can also call me a geek, but – being half German – I’d prefer not to be called a Nazi.
Those of us whose job it is to work with words, whether writing, editing or proofreading them, or those who simply enjoy the intricacies of language are often referred to by one of the following terms:
- Word nerd
- Grammar geek
- Grammar police (usually used in a negative context for people who take pride in publicly ‘outing’ someone else’s typos etc on social media or for debating a grammar point just for the fun of it)
- Grammar Nazi (see above)
- Punster (one who enjoys writing or reading puns)
- Spelling police
- Syntax enforcer
Recently, I stumbled across some fun alternatives in a discussion on the Word Nerd LinkedIn group:
- Grammarista (portmanteau of grammar + barista – rather apt as writers are known to consume large amounts of coffee)
- Verbivore (a play on the words herbivore + verb, i.e. we live on a ‘diet’ of verbs and other grammatical components)
Last but not least, James Harbeck – author of one of my favourite weekly blogs Sesquiotica – describes himself as a professional word taster and sentence sommelier. As he succinctly puts it:
“Words are delicious and intoxicating. They do much more than just denote; they have appearance, sound, a feel in the mouth, and words they sound like and travel with. All of these participate in the aesthetic experience of the word and can affect communication. So why not taste them like a fine wine?”
Do you know any other synonyms for a word nerd? Please share in the comments below.