smart aleck

[ al-ik ]
/ ˈæl ɪk /


an obnoxiously conceited person.
a wise guy.

Origin of smart aleck

1860–65, Americanism; generic use of Aleck, nickname for Alexander
Related formssmart-al·eck·y, smart-al·eck, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for smart aleck

British Dictionary definitions for smart aleck

smart aleck

/ (ˈælɪk) /

noun plural smart alecks

informal an irritatingly oversmart person
Derived Formssmart-aleck or smart-alecky, adjective

Word Origin for smart aleck

C19: from Aleck, Alec, short for Alexander
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for smart aleck

smart aleck


1865, of unknown origin, perhaps in reference to Aleck Hoag, notorious pimp, thief, and confidence man in New York City in early 1840s [Barnhart]. See smart (adj.). Related: Smart-alecky.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with smart aleck

smart aleck

An impudent or obnoxiously self-assertive individual, a wise guy, as in New teachers often have a hard time coping with the smart alecks in their classes. This expression, dating from the mid-1800s, probably alluded to a person of this description who was named Alec or Alexander, but his identity has been lost.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.