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  1. a person who possesses or affects to possess great wisdom.
  2. wise guy.
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Origin of wiseacre

1585–95; < Middle Dutch wijssager prophet, translation of Middle High German wīssage, late Old High German wīssago, by popular etymology equivalent to wīs wise + sago sayer, from earlier wīzzago wise person; cognate with Old English wītega, akin to wit2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for wiseacre

crook, hoodlum, know-it-all, mobster, brain, intellectual, braggart, windbag, wiseacre, smarty-pants, smart-ass, bigmouth, wiseass, wisenheimer, criminal, hood, mafioso

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Contemporary Examples of wiseacre

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British Dictionary definitions for wiseacre


  1. a person who wishes to seem wise
  2. a wise person: often used facetiously or contemptuously
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Word Origin for wiseacre

C16: from Middle Dutch wijsseggher soothsayer; related to Old High German wīssaga, German Weissager. See wise 1, say
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 wiseacre


1590s, partial translation of Middle Dutch wijssegger "soothsayer" (with no derogatory connotation), probably altered by association with Middle Dutch segger "sayer" from Old High German wizzago "prophet," from wizzan "to know," from Proto-Germanic *wit- "to know" (see wit (v.)). The deprecatory sense of "one who pretends to know everything" may have come through confusion with obsolete English segger "sayer," which also had a sense of "braggart" (mid-15c.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper