General Question

shrubbery's avatar

Where do you think the word "spock" came from?

Asked by shrubbery (9835 points ) May 8th, 2009

I’m just curious. As far as I know and have been brought up on, it is used as a word to describe a smart person, perhaps a geek or a nerd or a naturally smart person who doesn’t hide the fact that they enjoy learning and go out of their way to learn things that aren’t necessarily required and they always get high marks etc.

Sometimes it is used negatively, in the same way that nerd and geek would be used negatively I suppose. Perhaps if a student was seen as to be sucking up to a teacher by their desire to learn another kid who might in fact be jealous says “You’re such a spock” in that condescending disapproving tone.

Anyway, I just watched the new Star Trek movie, never having been exposed to anything Star Trek before this, and was wondering if perhaps the term spock as used to describe a rather smart person, came from the rather smart character Spock in Star Trek.

What do you think? If not, do you know where it did come from?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

15 Answers

syz's avatar

I’ve never heard the use that you describe, but since the Star Trek character is the only use I’ve ever heard of, my guess would be that, yes, it’s related.

eponymoushipster's avatar

well, via:

In The Making of Star Trek (1968), Roddenberry noted that he had been looking for an alien-sounding name, and didn’t know until later of Dr. Benjamin Spock, the renowned child psychologist.

syz's avatar

Ah, yes, I forgot about Dr Spock.

janbb's avatar

I haven’t heard it used that way either, but if it is, I am sure it is a reference to the Star Trek Spock. Actually, I did just hear a comparision of Obama to Spock on NPR; they said he was a lot like Spock only with the ears slightly blunted! :-)

ubersiren's avatar

Lurve for @eponymoushipster‘s lesson. I also haven’t ever heard of “spock” being used as a playful insult or in any other way than the S.T. or Dr. references. I’d bet it originated with S.T.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@ubersiren haha! Yeah, but maybe amongst child psychologists it’s an insult

John:“Jack, you’re such a Dr. Spock! Why don’t you go mess up a whole other generation of kids, huh?”

Jack:“Shut up, jerkface!”

ubersiren's avatar

@eponymoushipster : Hahaha.. that’s too funny to imagine.

Dorkgirl's avatar

I had not ready the “making of” book, but always figured Spock was a reference to Dr. Benjamin Spock.

YARNLADY's avatar

To this old timer that idea that the origin of ‘Spock’ is a mystery is inconceivable. I was there during the making, because I won a costume design contest, and I was acquainted with many of the people who were involved in the earliest days of the Star Trek world.

TheKNYHT's avatar

As far as I know, the determination to call this particular Vulcan Science Officer ‘Spock’ was merely a matter of phonetics.
Others were Spack, Spurk, Spork, Skon, Skol and some more that I can’t recall immediately.

Originally Spock was to be red skinned, and have a crystalline protrusion at his abdomen, from which would emit an energy ray that could disintegrate and absorb food; however the executives felt that this would be too alien a method of eating, and would lessen the audiences ability to identify with the character.

Strangely enough, whenever NBC allowed a tour of the Star Trek set of the bridge, with actors in full costume, the ladies always gravitated towards Spock; possible genetic memory of Eve with the serpent, i.e. the devil? lol

I remember reading all of this in my old (and disintegrated [no, not because I used my phaser or disrupter on it; it was just good ol fashioned entropy] copy of The Making Of Star Trek.

How many of you knew that Dr. McCoys little, cylindrical medical scanner was actually a salt shaker with a spinning light inside?

filmfann's avatar

Nerd alert!

I admit to being one too

madcapper's avatar

probably a combo of Sprocket and Cock= tool

Zaku's avatar

Spock the “word” is a reference to Spock, the character from Star Trek (not just smart but inhumanly logical), which becomes a word when someone who doesn’t know about Star Trek (in this case, you) hears it.

BTW Spock the (non-Star Trek) surname I imagine comes from Spock, the small town in Germany.

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther