The "ye" in Ye Olde Bookshop and other mildly nauseating names isn't - and never was - pronounced "ye". Our ancestors pronounced it "the".
So why write "ye", ye ask (that second one was the nominative "ye", as in "O, ye of little faith"). I'll tell you. The letter "y" was a printer's adaptation of an Old English character called the thorn, used to represent the "th" sound. It looked like this: þ. "Y" was allegedly the nearest character available in the Roman alphabet, which makes you wonder if our forebears had ever seen the letters b or p.
Popular theory has it that this little gem of a word was coined by Theodor Geisel, aka Dr Seuss, in his 1950 book If I Ran the Zoo. That may be a stretch, however. While Dr Seuss almost certainly played a key role - if not the key role - in popularising nerd, the word had been around for a few years already as a variation on nert, which itself was a humorous pronunciation of nut.
In If I Ran the Zoo, nerds are what the Oxford Words blog describes as "small, unkempt, humanoid creature[s] with a large head and a comically disapproving expression". Some would argue that the word's meaning hasn't altered since, but try telling that to Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg during the job interview.
Related insulty type words include geek and the rather aggressive nimrod. Geek originally meant a sideshow freak (hence Bob Dylan's lyric "you hand in your ticket / to go see the geek"), which possibly derived from the German geck, to mock or cheat. The modern sense of a social misfit with advanced computer skills dates from the early 1980s. Like nerd, geek has been reclaimed by those who've been labelled with the term, which makes it a kissing cousin of words like gay, dyke, queer and even some racially abusive terms which I won't repeat here.
Nimrod, on the other hand, was the son of Cush, referred to in Genesis as "a mighty hunter before the Lord". How the name became an insult is a mystery, although various theories have been suggested - none of them convincing. Whatever the case, one thing you can be sure of is that if anyone calls you a nimrod today, they're not expressing their admiration for your impressive pedigree.
A couple of days ago I gave a presentation on language to a local seniors organisation. They were a lively, opinionated bunch, which made the morning loads of fun. During the tea break, one woman whispered to me how much she hated her grandchildren's habit of using like as a filler (as in, "I was, like, so bummed out").
Let's get the terminology out of the way first. Like, used in that manner, is called a discourse particle. That's another name for a word that has no direct semantic meaning within the sentence in which it occurs.
But Beryl (not her real name) had no business getting righteous about the ringing emptiness of young people's speech. She certainly is just as guilty as her grandchildren of uttering meaningless words.
Don't believe me? Notice the next time you respond to a question with a sentence that begins "Welllll, ....". Let me tell you, that word well doesn't mean a damn thing. And if you never say "you know", well, you know, you're a better man than me, Gunga Din. I won't bore you with more examples, but trust me when I say the list is, really, pretty darn extensive as a matter of fact.
Discourse particles, which are recognisable words stripped almost bare of meaning, are a subset of fillers, which include sounds that never have lexical meaning in any context, such as your ums, ahs, ers, and so on. Whether they have no meaning at all is debatable. Some researchers say they're devices for giving yourself time to think about what to say next without ceding control of the conversation - a bit like slow drivers who hog the fast lane (but don't get me started). In that case, they certainly perform a meaningful function in speech. And if you're someone who likes to have the last, ah, word, it could be a very useful function indeed.