Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Today we have a great question from a listener!

What does it mean to say “be there or be square”?

We’ll find out today and we’ll also talk about the rise of the “nerd” in American culture due to the Internet age!

Here is the question from our listener:

Hi Lindsay, How are you?

“I’m Eunhye from S.Korea. I love listening to your podcast. I feel like my English is getting better and better by just listening All Ears English every day. I have a question. Could you explain what “Be there or be square” means?? I heard it from a movie and couldn’t figure out what this means and how to use it in sentences. I would be very happy if you could discuss it on one of the upcoming episodes.”

Thank you

Best regards, Eunhye


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What does it mean?

According to the Urban Dictionary it means the following:

  • a nerd
  • a geek
  • a dork
  • someone who is unpopular
  • someone who is not with it


Other ways to say someone that someone is “out of touch”:

  • Out of it- disconnected, mentally confused (tired, drunk)
  • An outsider
  • Oddball- be careful because this could be offensive
  • Weirdo
  • Eccentric
  • Offbeat
  • Quirky
  • “Marches to the beat of his own drum”


Why is “nerdy” and “quirky” now considered cool in American culture?

In the last 10-15 years the “nerd” has suddenly become cool.

This has happened due to the rise of technology because the nerds are becoming billionaires.

While people like Mark Zuckerberg might have been considered weird and outside of the popular group in college 30 years ago, today he is a billionaire because he was able to start his own company by having direct access to the Internet and computers.


Are nerds cool in your culture?

Let us know if this trend is happening in your country as well!

Leave us a comment below.

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