Nerd is a relatively modern word whose entomology derives (it is believed) from the book If I Ran the Zoo by Dr. Seuss and published in 1950. By the late 1950’s 'Nerd' had come to mean a “square” or uncool person. This general definition stuck and is still used describe untrendy individuals. It often has a derogatory connotation that refers to a person who pursues intellectual activities or obscure interests that are considered age inappropriate (playing with toy soldiers anyone?). Nerds are stereotypically described as loners but in reality often associate in communities of like-minded people (clubs, online forums, conventions etc).
The word Geek has a much older origin, being commonly used as far back as the 1880’s to describe a fool or circus performer engaged in bizarre acts. Its current usage however often describes a computer expert or enthusiast. When a Geek uses the word it is considered a sign of pride but in general its usage has a derogatory connotation.
The dictionary definition of a Dork describes a socially inept person, or one who is out of touch with current trends. Contemporary usage is synonymous with Nerd and Geek and tends to refer to people of high intelligence but with hobbies or interests that make them social outsiders. I think that pretty much sums up gamers / mini painters / roleplayers pretty well. Usage of the work Dork to describe gamers in general has been popularised by the web comic Dork Tower.
These days I tend to describe myself as a Nerd or a Dork. I have taken a leaf from the Geeks and now use it as a badge of pride. I have spent far too many years keeping quiet about my hobbies and interests. That was back when I thought of myself as having a 'career' (oh youthful pride!). But over the last ten years or so I have made a conscious effort to be more open about my hobby. Mini painting & gaming is a very creative, intelligent, social (despite the stereotype) and highly rewarding hobby. I guess that as I have got older and wiser (the Jury is out on that last one) I have felt less need to conform in order to make my way in the world.
This gradual epiphany has manifested itself as a couple of moto's which I repeat to myself every day: "The Geeks shall inherit the Earth" and "I'm a Nerd and I'm Proud".