smart aleck



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

Contemporary Examples of smart aleck

  • In the series' pilot, smart-aleck ex-lawyer Jeff Winger (Joel McHale) tells Abed that he has Asperger's syndrome.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Hollywood Takes on Autism

    Jace Lacob

    February 24, 2010

Historical Examples of smart aleck

  • Before he got there he started a guessing contest in that smart-aleck burg.

    The Modern Railroad

    Edward Hungerford

  • "The young squirt was always a Smart-Aleck and a blow-hard," he said.

    Poor White

    Sherwood Anderson

  • Well, it happened that the end of last week a smart-Aleck of a fellow came in, an Andalusian.

    Their Son; The Necklace

    Eduardo Zamacois

  • They gave him a month in the barracks to think over how smart-aleck hed been, and then Jimmie was out again.

    Famous Flyers

    David Goodger (

British Dictionary definitions for smart aleck

smart aleck

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

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.