General English


  • noun an unfashionable, studious or tedious person, usually a young male. A campus expression from the 1980s, based on the characteristic dress of these fellow-students. A sub-genre of jangling guitar pop music, supposedly beloved of such students, was dubbed ‘anorak rock’ in the music press in the mid-1980s.

Origin & History of “anorak”

this was originally a word in the Inuit language of Greenland: annoraaq. It came into English in the 1920s, by way of Danish. At first it was used only to refer to the sort of garments worn by Eskimos, but by the 1930s it was being applied to a waterproof hooded coat made in imitation of these. In Britain, such jackets came to be associated with the sort of socially inept obsessives who stereotypically pursue such hobbies as train-spotting and computer-gaming, and by the early 1980s the term ‘anorak’ was being contemptuously applied to them.