smart aleck

or smart al·ec

[ smahrt-al-ik ]
/ ˈsmɑrt ˌæl ɪk /
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See synonyms for: smart aleck / smart alecky / smart-alecky / smart-aleck on Thesaurus.com

noun Informal.



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Origin of smart aleck

An Americanism first recorded in 1860–65; generic use of Aleck, nickname for Alexander
smart-al·eck·y, smart-al·eck, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for smart aleck

smart aleck
/ (ˈælɪk) /

noun plural smart alecks

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

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.
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