Trekkie VS Trekker: Why Star Trek Fans Have Two Names

By Zack Zagranis | Published

star trek khan

A war has been waging inside the Star Trek community since The Original Series was still on the air. On one side is the lighthearted yet slightly derogatory term “Trekkie.” On the other side, the more serious yet slightly pretentious “Trekker.” Caught in the middle are casual fans and general admirers of sci-fi who simply want to know: which is it, Trekkie or Trekker?

To Trekkie Or To Trekker, That Is The Question

As more of a Star Wars fan, I have no particular dog in this fight. I used to tell a joke, “What do you call a Star Trek fan?”

“A Trekkie.”

“What do you call a Star Wars fan?”

“John (or any other common first name of your choice).”

As a minor Star Trek fan however the Trekkie vs. Trekker debate fascinates me.

Trekkie is undoubtedly more common outside of the community. Trekker, while almost as old, didn’t seem to gain much traction until Star Trek: The Next Generation came around.

As soon as it was apparent that Star Trek was now a franchise and no longer a specific story involving Captain Kirk and his crew, some fans abandoned the Trekkie moniker in favor of the more dignified Trekker. But what exactly is more dignified about “er” vs. “ie”?

Battling The Stereotypes

In the late ’60s, Trekkie was the name given to Star Trek Fans by the rest of society. It was initially used with disdain as a way to mock what others saw as a sad group of obsessive fans.

\Trekkie was essentially the “Neckbeard” or “Incel” of its time, which may have been one of the reasons there was a big push to normalize Trekker in the ’90s.

Many fans see Trekker as the name they gave themselves. The overall point of the nickname was to eliminate the negative connotations associated with the “ie” suffix—hippie, moonie, yuppie, etc.

When most people heard the word Trekkie, they immediately pictured an overweight nerd with pointy ears and hands in the “Live long and prosper,” position. Trekker was an attempt to change that.

Resistance Is Futile

best star trek villain

Unfortunately, the push to abandon Trekkie in favor of Trekker came too late. When the new phrase came along, Trekkie had already been firmly entrenched in the pop culture vernacular for decades.

Even today, most people reading this are probably like, “What the hell is a Trekker?”

Trying to get the world to call you a more flattering nickname is a noble pursuit, but to quote the Borg, “Resistance is futile.” Serious fans can try to get society to adopt Trekker as the preferred term, but it’s a lot like trying to make fetch happen.

Trekkie will always be more popular with non-Star Trek Fans, and even within the community, it’s often used more frequently than Trekker.

They’re Only Borg If They’re From The Borg Region Of France

star trek borg

Ironically, despite being created to curb the negative connotations of being a hardcore Star Trek fan, Trekker is now considered the more nerdy label.

Think about it. What’s more Neckbeard than the phrase, “Um, actually I’m not a Trekkie I’m a Trekker.”

So, which nickname is the right one? As a more casual fan, I prefer Trekkie. Using the term, Trekker feels like when a BMW snob tries to tell you, “It’s not a beamer; it’s pronounced bimmer.”

Cool, I’ll just run and tell millions of people they’ve been wrong their whole life. Let’s see how well that goes.

Trekkie just sounds better than Trekker. Like you’re a fan but you don’t take yourself so seriously. People who go by Trekker are the same people who can’t let one Halloween go by without reminding everyone, “Frankenstein is the name of the doctor not the monster!”

Besides, Trekkie doesn’t even carry the same baggage it once did.

Midichlorians > Borg Nanites

Yoda parents

Star Trek, comic books, and all of that geeky stuff have become so mainstream that being a Trekkie isn’t enough to get you a wedgie from the school bully anymore.

Fans should consider the name Trekkie a badge of pride and not something shameful to sweep under the rug in favor of Trekker. Referring to yourself as a Trekker is the Star Trek equivalent of being a vegan: no one is rolling their eyes at you for being one.

They’re doing it because they know you’re going to tell them all about it, whether they want to hear it or not.

Bottom line, call yourself whatever you want. Trekkie, Trekker, Trekkist—yeah, I saw that one while I was researching this—they’re all just different words for the same thing: dorks.

All you Star Trek nerds need to trade your phasers in for lightsabers and join the superior space franchise. May the Force be with you.