As having a green thumb is someone who is good with plants, jokingly, the brown thumb could be used for someone who is bad with plants.

Is there an equivalent pair for being good/bad with technology/electronics?

  • If you're in the mood for inventing a pairing where none exists, I always liked the contrast between being a hacker and being unable to hack it. Are you looking for a strict contrast (green / brown thumb), or just two distinct terms? – TaliesinMerlin Sep 3 '19 at 18:49
  • 1
    The opposite of having a green thumb is being a PEBCAK. – Benjamin Harman Sep 3 '19 at 19:20
  • Does this include "electronics" in the sense of taking apart and fixing something, or only a person who can punch buttons competently? I had a friend who used to brag about how many "extra" parts he always had left over.... – Cascabel Sep 3 '19 at 22:42
  • @TaliesinMerlin just looking for the contrasting term, not necessarily a pair. A one-word opposite would be nice, but seems there is none. – Horst Sep 10 '19 at 8:20

Someone who is good with technology/electronics -


: (of a person) having sufficient knowledge and skill to be able to use computers; familiar with the operation of computers.


So if you aren't specifically looking for an idiom, I'd suggest -


which, of course, would be the opposite of computer-literate.

You could also say that the person is "technologically inept".

You could also say -


: A Luddite is someone who is incompetent when using new technology.

(Source 1)

(Source 2)


Removed tech-savvy as it appeared to be quite informal.

  • 1
    I'm not familiar with that definition of Luddite. I've only heard it used to refer to the Industrial Revolution Luddites and, by extension, people who dislike modern technologies and discourage their use. – Juhasz Sep 3 '19 at 19:00
  • I kept researching and that's what kept coming up. But I did find a source that suggests a meaning in line with the OP's context. It does look like a reputable site, though. Downvotes are still welcome. (Oh... And I had the same thoughts as you too.) – Justin Sep 3 '19 at 19:02
  • 1
    I think of "luddite" as meaning someone who prefers not to use modern technology, not necessary inept at it. I'm tech savvy, but I still use a flip-phone, so I consider my self a cellphone luddite. – Barmar Sep 9 '19 at 18:41
  • 1
    Hmm luddite seemed quite good to me, to elaborate a bit on the background, a friend of mine whom I occasionally lend electronic devices ends up breaking them, but just through regular use and unintentionally. – Horst Sep 10 '19 at 8:23
  • 1
    @horst - well, in that case, he's a tech shlemiel. – aparente001 Sep 11 '19 at 3:27

The person who is a natural with computers is a


(Merriam-Webster) 3: an expert at programming and solving problems with a computer

The person who is a disaster with computers is a


technophobia : fear or dislike of advanced technology or complex devices and especially computers

  • 1
    Not looking for disliking technology, but rather being bad at using it/breaking it unintentionally. – Horst Sep 10 '19 at 8:25
  • Your definition for "hacker" refers to "an expert" - that is somewhat beyond merely "being good with technology", which is what the Q. asked for. I would regard myself as being good with technology - but certainly not a "hacker"! There's a huge gap between being good with technology and being a hacker! – TrevorD Sep 10 '19 at 18:46

For technology generally, a somewhat old-fashined term of being bad at it is all thumbs. Due to modern texting, this has taken on a different meaning of being proficient at typing with your thumbs.

The knack is a term that Scott Adams took to mean "having great engineering ability." So "lost his knack" is an engineer who has lost the ability to do engineering.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.