- , SMART-ALECNo viable theories have come forth on why smart aleck developed at the beginning of the last century. But it did, and the expression is still very much with us today. By smart aleck we mean a bumptious, conceited know-it-all. Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable says it is an American term that goes back to the 1860s and that it can be found in the literature of this country. The expression first appeared in print in 1862 in a Carson City, Nevada, newspaper. But no record remains of Aleck's identity. Some sources say that the term was first used in the sixteenth century to designate a questionable scholar named Alexander Ross, who possesed various tiresome qualities. (Ross was referred to by Samuel Butler in Hudibras [1663-1678]: "There was a very learn'd philosopher / Who had read Alexander Ross over.") But this belief has not been attested. Whoever the original Aleck, once a common nickname for Alexander, he was smart enough to cover up all leads to his identity.
Dictionary of eponyms. Morton S. Freeman. 2013.
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smart aleck — ☆ smart aleck or smart alec [al΄ik ] [ SMART + Aleck, dim. of ALEXANDER1] Informal a person who is offensively conceited and self assertive; cocky, bumptious person smart aleck adj. smart alecky … English World dictionary
smart aleck — [“smart “aelak] n. someone who is saucy and acts cocky. □ A smart aleck like you ought to have no trouble at all getting his face mashed in. □ Don’t be such a smart aleck … Dictionary of American slang and colloquial expressions
smart aleck — smart alecky, smart aleck, adj. /al ik/ 1. an obnoxiously conceited person. 2. a wise guy. [1860 65, Amer.; generic use of Aleck, nickname for Alexander] * * * … Universalium
smart aleck — 1865, perhaps in reference to Aleck Hoag, notorious pimp, thief, and confidence man in New York City in early 1840s … Etymology dictionary
smart-aleck — [n] wise guy bigmouth*, know itall*, smart ass*, smarty pants*, wiseacre, wiseass, wisenheimer; concept 412 … New thesaurus
smart aleck — noun an upstart who makes conceited, sardonic, insolent comments • Syn: ↑wise guy, ↑wiseacre, ↑wisenheimer, ↑weisenheimer • Hypernyms: ↑upstart * * * smart alec [ … Useful english dictionary
smart aleck — A person who tries to give the impression that he knows everything or annoys others by trying to sound clever. William, by Irene Hunt, has: ‘Amy would have said “Not funny, smart aleck,” but Mama didn’t’ ‘Aleck’ is a pet form of Alexander, a… … A dictionary of epithets and terms of address
smart aleck — also smart alec noun Etymology: Aleck, nickname for Alexander Date: 1865 an obnoxiously conceited and self assertive person with pretensions to smartness or cleverness • smart aleck adjective • smart alecky adjective … New Collegiate Dictionary
smart-aleck — adjective That is characteristic of a smart aleck smart aleck remarks … Wiktionary
smart aleck — noun a) one who is given to obnoxious or insolent humor; wise guy b) one who is pretentious to cleverness or knowledge; a know it all Syn … Wiktionary