I have heard this word in other languages. It refers (in the bad sense) to those persons who are really hard working, study a lot, memorize, but in fact do not have the intelligence knack. They are not wise, but hardworking.

  • 4
    I think the closest English has is "book smart", but that implies naïveté, not a lack of intelligence (in other words, book smart people are smart, just not wise).
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 16:59
  • What's the word in other languages? Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 17:28
  • I had thought that the word might be "a swot" (at least in certain dialects); to me it has a negative connotation of someone who works hard but lacks actual aptitude. But the OED entry does not seem to confirm this negative connotation.
    – user44038
    Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 17:53
  • @ElliottFrisch "cow" Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 19:41
  • @WolfgangKuehne How udderly ridiculous. Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 19:45

3 Answers 3


Such a person might be called a grind:-

Informal A student who works or studies excessively.

[American Heritage Dictionary via The Free Dictionary].

This doesn't invariably mean someone not particularly bright, but it carries that implication (they are grinding facts into their head, mechanically and without inspiration).


"Book Smart" ~ having a lot of academic knowledge learned from books and studying, but not necessarily knowing much about people and living in the real world


You might mean "Dweeb".

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Know about it here.

  • 1
    Dweeb refers more to lack of social skills than lack of intelligence or presence of diligence.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 7:08

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