smart aleck

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smart aleck

One who makes jokes and uses sarcasm in an attempt to seem witty, but instead is deemed annoying. Also seen as "smart alec." I'd had enough of that smart aleck's wisecracks, so I left the party early.
See also: aleck, smart

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

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

smart alec (or aleck)

a person considered irritating because they know a great deal or always have a clever answer to a question.
From the male personal name Alec, a short form of Alexander.
See also: alec, smart

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

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
References in periodicals archive ?
Adapted by Gustin Nash (whose "Charlie Bartlett" reflects a similar adolescent smart-aleck attitude from the opposite end of the economic spectrum), "Youth in Revolt" ages Twisp two years and encompasses the first three volumes in C.D.
Greek smart-aleck, Heraclitus, had a similar opinion, declaring: "One can never step into the same river twice."
In a much less cynical way, ESPN's nightly "Sports Center" commits the exact same act when its broadcasters punctuate their descriptions of a pitcher's game-winning strikeout or a pinch-hitter's make-a-difference homer with a smart-aleck witticism.
You picture his fast-talking, smart-aleck character from the TV show.
But the same neocon geniuses who thought up the Iraq war, the ones who got George--oops, I still have trouble remembering that the smart-aleck kid I first met a half-century ago is now president of these United States--into this mess, not only rejected our bipartisan recommendations, but they attacked us personally.
A Black mother raises her son to think he's handsome, but not too handsome, smart but not a smart-aleck, independent, but not hardheaded, sensitive, but not too soft.
Smart-aleck lattes, medieval bagel comedians, rough-neck muffin gangs, and caffeine inspired takeoffs on the masterpieces of famous artists are all part of author Mike Clarke's wacky world of coffee-based humor.
But friends say 39-year-old Tatum, who won the Oscar for playing Ryan's cute, smart-aleck daughter in Paper Moon, is incandescent with rage at his suggestion that in reality she isn't his ideal offspring.
The smart-aleck and skeptical Joe receives a plain-language lesson on how Six Sigma propelled Larry and his division to the top.
Even the smart-aleck remarks died away, and my wife and I felt as if we had discovered a new world atop our familiar Earth.
While I felt the story could have been fleshed out a bit more (for example, the character's seemingly ever-present bulimia is hardly mentioned in the book's second half), I liked it, particularly the character's smart-aleck, wise-girl tone.
Smart-aleck academics and clever-dick BBC types may scoff.
The payoff is that her nature also includes a wry, smart-aleck wit and a deep sensitivity.
Spider-Man was a smart-aleck outsider who enraged the establishment newspaper run by cigar-chomping J.
From a gentle tip-tap like the murmuring patter of spring rain to thunder-crack jumps and the smart-aleck snap-slap-pop of a firecracker, Glover's feet tossed like tassels, and the sounds alternately soothed and then sparked the senses.