(chiefly North American also smart aleck) informal
Definition of smart alec in English:
A person who is irritating because they behave as if they know everything.
- Why are they being smart alecks in questioning our country's laws?
- His large physique, combined with an angry look, always stopped a smart alec commenting about his ‘skirt’.
- The problem is, there's always a smart alec who'll ask if my first name is Eggs.
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Irritating as a result of behaving as if one knows everything: a smart-alec answer
More example sentences
- One of these days I will actually answer with some smart-aleck remark and just watch as she sits there dumbfounded.
- Ironically, instead of being a smart-alec answer, this helped her remember what she was trying to do and off she went.
- Mrs. Alving adds the kind of smart-aleck comment that has ever been the stock-in-trade of those to whom boundaries are so irksome: ‘Well, we all stem from a relationship of that kind, so we are told.’
Mid 19th century: from smart + Alec, diminutive of the given name Alexander.
- Example sentences
- I'm more familiar with the extroverted, smart-alecky Spider Man than the shy, introverted Peter Parker.
- It's all very well being smart-alecky about Burns living in an attic but, in this day and age, there's no patronage.
- I soon regretted it, however, as what my grandfather would have called ‘a smart-alecky stunt’ and I was relieved when the tape was returned.
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