BEING SIMULTANEOUSLY AN INSULT AND, FOR THE STUDENT OF LANGUAGES, ONE BAD-ASS M’F’ING NAME, ABUSED BY THE ANNALS OF POP CULTURE
n. — an overly diligent student, nerd, smarty-pants; esp. one lacking in social skills
fm. a name, originating as a supporting character in the Felix the Cat television series of the late ’50s. Apparently, the character was named after the show creator’s attorney, Emmett Poindexter. The surname itself is an [anglicization] of the [Old] French poing destre, meaning the very unnerdy “right fist.”
Destre comes from the same root by which we get “dexterous,” meaning deft, able, capable…All right, I hear it. In defending unnerdiness, The AOE sounds downright nerdy.
an incomplete compendium
- Ohio-based abolitionist James Preston Poindexter (1819–1907), credited at his death as being the second-longest serving advocate for African-American rights, after Booker T. Washington
- Bacteriologist Hildrus Augustus “Gus” Poindexter (1901–1987), famous for his work on tropical diseases and author of an autobiography that confronts the racial prejudice he faced as a black man in science
- Chester Jennings Poindexter (1910–1983), southpaw pitcher for the Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies, career record 0–2 with a 4.83 ERA
- Admiral John Marian Poindexter (b. 1936), the fourteenth National Security Advisor, who was convicted in April 1990 of multiple felonies for his actions related to Iran-Contra, convictions reversed on appeal in 1991
- Astronaut Alan Goodwin “Dex” Poindexter (1961–2012), son of John Marian and a member of Space Shuttle missions STS-122 (Atlantis, supplying the International Space Station) and STS-131 (Discovery, supplying the International Space Station)
- And, of course, a certain fictional character from a beloved 1980s comedy…
first published. 1981, pre-dating the Revenge of the Nerds character played by Timothy Busfield by three years.
inspiration. The Oxford English Dictionary and, really, this author’s striking resemblance to the cartoon character