Poindexter is a (mostly North American) word for an overly studious individual who doesn't have any social skills. The term emerged in teenage slang in the mid-1980s and comes from the TV cartoon show Felix the Cat, where there was an extremely nerdy character with that name. This stereotype may have been helped by a character from the 1984 comedy Revenge of the Nerds named Arnold Poindexter. Beyond that, it's just an English surname - Ronald Reagan's national security advisor was called John Poindexter - tracing to the Isle of Jersey in the thirteenth century. Originally, it was spelled poigndestre, which is of Norman roots meaning "fist" and "right". By 1992, poindexterish was also used as an adjective, and pointdexter has started to emerge as an alternate spelling.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.