April 29th, 2012

1940s British slang, specifically "nerd"

I'm writing a story that takes place in France in the late 30s/early 40s. One character is the sorta stereotypically "nerdy" kid. I know that the word "nerd" didn't become a slang term until the 50s, so I need the equivalent of it. The character himself is English, so I'm not looking for American slang.

I've Googled "british slang 1940s," "ww2 british slang," "british slang for nerd," and I've read the Wiki entry about the word "nerd." I'm not sure if the word "geek" would be appropriate, since I can't quite find when it switched uses.

I can find random lists of slang (mostly American) along with the occasional list of British slang (mostly modern), but I can't find exactly what I'm looking for. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

ETA: A bit o' context. The characters are in their early 20s, and they're at a sort of "special school," almost like Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, but they don't have mutant abilities or anything. They're all intelligent, but most of them focus on the more physical side of things, while the character in question is actually on the R&D side. The exact sentence is, "He had always been the skinny, nerdy kid at home, and he was still the skinny, nerdy kid here." He's not looked down upon for it; I just need a word instead of "nerdy." I could always just use "awkward" or something and solve the whole problem. :)