Nerd, Dork, Geek

In: Culture

30 May 2012

Why do we almost always use “three” circles for venns? Could this diagram have benefited from another circle?


3 Responses to Nerd, Dork, Geek



May 31st, 2012 at 5:56 am

Simple. Say you add another circle, let’s say “asks too many questions” (with obsession: “nuisance”, with social ineptitude: “annoying”, with social ineptitude and obsession:”really annoying”, with intelligence: “smart cookie”, with intelligence and obsession: “driven pioneer”, with intelligence and obsession and social ineptitude: “eccentric genius”).

If you add it in making a square-like shape of circles, you lose overlaps between just the circles opposite each other. If you added it in the bottom right, you’d lose dork (dorks don’t ask questions) and you couldn’t have ‘smart cookie’.

To get every possible combination, you’d need a confusing shape like this or an ugly shape like this

That might take away some of the fun of the joke…

You sometimes see extra circles in venn jokes where only certain overlaps are needed, e.g. this classic:


Colin Moden

May 31st, 2012 at 11:16 am

The concept of a Venn diagram is that all the sets overlap in all combinations. In the case of 3 sets there are 3 x 1 set areas, + 3 x 2 set intersects + 1 x 3 set intersect. And 3 circles illustrate this perfectly, except that the size of each area doesn’t imply anything.

I think you’ll find it’s impossible to draw a graphic that shows 4 sets with all possible combinations. Mathematically you can extrapolate to 4 or N sets, but visually you can’t



June 14th, 2012 at 12:14 pm

missing “root” via competency circle (not the same as intelligence)

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