Was this term (I believe it is a synonym of geek, nerd, and so on) based on the television series Dexter or was it around before that and the series based its name on it?

closed as general reference by JoseK, Thursagen, Mr. Shiny and New 安宇, Alenanno, z7sg Ѫ Aug 9 '11 at 14:20

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.


It's been around a lot longer than the TV series Dexter.


“nerdy intellectual,” by 1986, U.S. teenager slang, from the character Poindexter, introduced 1959 in the made-for-TV cartoon version of “Felix the Cat.”

The TV series is based on the novels by Jeff Lindsay:

One of the most interesting questions came from a librarian. She asked whether Dexter's name came from "dexterous", meaning left handed, and "sinister", meaning right handed. Lindsay was stunned, saying it was only the second time he's ever been asked this. She was correct - he said the book's original title was the "Left Hand of God".

Although dexter is really Latin for right and sinister is Latin for left. From TV Tropes (click "open/close all folders"):

Meaningful Name: In Latin Dexter means right and is the opposite of Left, which is Sinister. The main character must follow the Code of Harry so as to appear as Dexter and not let on that he is Sinister.

  • Also, Dexter refers to dexterity. Defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as: "mental skill or quickness / readiness and grace in physical activity; especially : skill and ease in using the hands."
  • Probably not intentional, but dextrose is a more scientific term for blood sugar [sic, blood sugar is glucose, not dextrose].
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    I am wondering where the reversal has crept into the quote above: "dexter" in Latin is the right hand, and "sinister" the left. – Colin Fine Aug 9 '11 at 13:13
  • @Hugo, the quote from the blog is really low quality and just adds nothing to the explanation (except confusion). – Unreason Aug 9 '11 at 14:05
  • Yes, I was wondering the same thing too. I had thought he was called Dexter as he may be a serial killer, but he's a serial killer with a moral code (the opposite of sinister). And he's dexterous with a knife. I've found something else and will make an edit. – Hugo Aug 9 '11 at 14:12
  • A precise and exact answer looks pretty definite and permanent, don't understand why the question got closed. Well thanks anyway! – Cray Aug 9 '11 at 18:29
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    Dextrose does mean blood sugar, too—it is just less commonly used than glucose. It is actually a shortening of ‘dextro-glucose’, so called because it polarises light to the right in spectroscopy (Etymonline—didn't know that last bit, and probably don't understand it either). – Janus Bahs Jacquet Oct 18 '13 at 15:06

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