[Ads-l] brainiac (UNCLASSIFIED)

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Mon Dec 16 20:02:23 UTC 2019

OED3 (Dec. 2002 update) has "brainiac" as a noun from 1975 and as an
adjective from 1976. Noun is defined as: "A very intelligent person; an
Sometimes depreciative or derogatory, with connotations of social
inadequacy or ostracization."

1975   Elem. Eng. 52 474/2   The discussions..emphasized the spirited
speech these pre-teenagers enjoy. They began to invent words and phrases to
express themselves fully. Hence a 'brainiac' gave the exact idea of a
modern genius that one boy wanted to convey.

1976   New Musical Express 12 Feb. 30/3   Nick Kent finds a brainiac kid
wallowing in a four-way blitzkrieg bog.

On Mon, Dec 16, 2019 at 12:49 PM MULLINS, WILLIAM D (Bill) CIV USARMY CCDC
AVMC (USA) <0000099bab68be9a-dmarc-request at listserv.uga.edu> wrote:

> A brainiac is an intelligent person, possibly who is ostracized for their
> brightness.  Comes from the proper noun "Brainiac" which is either a
> villain from the Superman comics, or a toy computer kit (see Wikipedia for
> details).
> I don't see this version of brainiac in either the OED or in the OED SF
> project.
> Noun:
> _Washington [DC] Star_ 15 Jan 1980 p C-4 col 3
> "They called him 'brainiac' and told him to 'go back to grammar school' ".
> [article about child prodigies in college]
> White Plains NY _Journal News_ 16 Jun 1985 p C1 col 1 [syndicated AP
> article]
> "That was where he was first dubbed a 'brainiac,' she said."
> Twin Falls Idaho _Times-News_ 15 Mar 1987 p A-12 col 2  [syndicated AP
> article]
> "Shelvy, an honor role [sic] student whose grades have been declining,
> told Fordham she was not putting forth full effort because she didn't want
> to be labeled 'a brainiac'."
> Adjective:
> _99'er Magazine_ 1982 [issue undated, copyright 1982] v1#5, p 17  col 1
> "Even companies that own big 'brainiac' computers are buying micros to
> spread around to key people."
> _Austin [TX] Chronicle_ 29 July 2005 p 84  col 2
> "oddly directed by Tim Story (last seen helming the disastrous Jimmy
> Fallon travesty Taxi), this is the origin story of brainiac sci-fi guy
> Reed  Richards (Gruffudd), his capable lady love Sue Storm (Alba), her
> cocksure, testosterone-bomb of a kid brother (Evans), and friend-to-the-end
> Ben Grimm (Chiklis), and what happens to them after they're saturated by
> radiation from a cosmic storm while orbiting the Earth in the name of
> Saving Mankind."

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