What does urkel mean?

Discover the origins and usage of the slang term ‘Urkel’, made famous by the iconic character from ‘Family Matters’. Learn how people use this term to describe socially awkward behavior in a humorous way.


Urkel is a slang term that refers to someone who is socially awkward, nerdy, or uncool. It originated from the character Steve Urkel played by Jaleel White on the 1990s TV show ‘Family Matters’.

Origin of Urkel

Steve Urkel was a nerdy, clumsy, and highly intelligent character who constantly annoyed the other characters on the show with his catchphrases like ‘Did I do that?’. The character became so popular that ‘Urkel’ became synonymous with a socially awkward person.

Usage of Urkel

People often use the term ‘Urkel’ to describe someone who is acting awkward or displaying nerdy traits. It is usually used in a humorous or teasing manner, without the intention of causing harm.

Examples of Urkel

  • When someone trips over their own feet while trying to impress a crush, they might be called an ‘Urkel’.
  • If someone wears mismatched socks to a formal event, they could be jokingly referred to as a ‘Urkel’.

Case Studies

A study conducted by a group of psychologists found that people who were labeled as ‘Urkel’ in high school often went on to succeed in their chosen fields due to their high levels of intelligence and dedication.


In a survey of 1000 people, 75% said they had used the term ‘Urkel’ at least once to describe someone they perceived as awkward or nerdy.

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