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smart alec(k)

One who makes jokes and uses sarcasm in an attempt to seem witty, but instead is deemed annoying. I'd had enough of that smart aleck's wisecracks, so I left the party early. Don't be such a smart alec, Sally.
See also: smart
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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.
See also: aleck, smart
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

a smart alec


a smart aleck

A smart alec or a smart aleck is someone who is very clever and who is often able to answer questions in a clever way. Note: People sometimes spell `alec' and `aleck' with capital initials, as names. They've got some smart alec of a lawyer from London to oppose bail. Note: You can use smart alec and smart aleck before a noun. I hate smart-aleck kids who talk like dictionaries. Note: You use this expression to show that you find someone annoying. Note: Alec or Aleck is a shortened form of the name Alexander.
See also: alec, smart
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

a ˈsmart alec/aleck

(informal, disapproving) a person who tries to show that they are cleverer than everyone else: Some smart alec wrote in to say that the last edition of the newspaper contained 37 printing errors.
See also: alec, aleck, smart
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

smart aleck, a

A cocky individual who thinks he or she knows everything and is not shy about saying so. The origin of this term, an American colloquialism from the 1860s, has been lost; no one knows who that first Aleck (or Alexander) was. The adjective smart in the sense of “impudent” is much older (fifteenth century) but has died out except in this expression. Budd Schulberg used it in What Makes Sammy Run? (1941): “He’s a smart aleck. I can see already he thinks he knows more than I do.”
See also: smart
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
'Smart' Alec Hoag, because he never woke the victim, would be on the other side of town before the rube even knew what had happened." While that was a long explanation, it now enables you to work in into a conversation where everyone will begin to refer to you as a "smart aleck."
Il s'agit d'Amar Bouras, le president de la Federation algerienne d'athletisme (FAA) qui a ete designe en compagnie de son homologue sud- africain Aleck Skhosana comme scrutateurs de la Confederation africaine d'athletisme au congres special de l'IAAF devant se tenir le 3 decembre 2016 a Monaco.C'est en tout cas, ce qu'a indique mardi soir la FAA sur son site officiel.En marge de ce congres special, l'IAAF reunira son conseil les 30 novembre et 1er decembre prochains avant d'organiser la soiree des recompenses des meilleurs athletes 2016 le 2 decembre.Ce congres special aura egalement a se prononcer sur la proposition finale pour une reforme de la structure de gouvernance de l'IAAF.
To add to the confusion, there will be some smart aleck who will decide to steer his car in a different direction throwing the situation into pandemonium.
Laughil w a few priced there Castle Dutch Rum Aleck Th of Jim Wrig Droo Buick Champi tomorrow ne British flav an trial last Satu encouraging.
Dershowitz, for example, believed, despite test scores to the contrary, that he was a dunce, until an influential teacher said he was wise (and didn't append the word "aleck").
CAST: Neal Spelce, Claire Wilson James, Tom Eckman, Aleck Hernandez Jr., Houston McCoy, Brenda Bell, Allen Crum, John "Artly Snuff" Fox
Sometimes one can be smart aleck. I always warn them.
"Aren't you ever going to get good at this stuff, or what?" His answer to me, a smart aleck high school sophomore, was, "...always getting better son, always getting better." I could see that I had already entered 'the practice' of life; however, since I wasn't making any money at all (or not that much) because I wasn't that good at it, I knew that I wasn't a professional.
Being the smart aleck I was in those days, I told my friend to watch me.
We used to pick up at least half a bus load at Billingham, there was always a smart aleck who would turn the door handle at the entrance to the bus, consequently you tried to close the doors and they wouldn't so you had to leave your seat and turn the handle back from the outside.
Atkins has Parker's style down pat, and the dialogue and smart aleck cracks flash by regularly.
EIGHT- year- old Akshat Singh, smart aleck star of Indian reality TV, has emerged as the latest sensation on the web with a trending YouTube video The Fat Indian Kid Dance .
One not so Smart Aleck said on a phone-in: "Did we have ADHD when we had caning in schools?" In truth, when boys were savagely caned in Secondary Modern schools teachers would tell you that it was "always the same boys being caned."
Co-authors on the study included Eugene Hattori of the Nevada State Museum in Carson City, Nev; John Southon of the University of California, Irvine; and Benjamin Aleck of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Museum and Visitor's Center in Nixon, Nev.