smart aleck


smart al·​eck ˈsmärt-ˌa-lik How to pronounce smart aleck (audio)
variants or less commonly smart alec
: an obnoxiously conceited and self-assertive person with pretensions to smartness or cleverness
smart-aleck adjective
smart-alecky adjective

Examples of smart aleck in a Sentence

some smart aleck in the audience kept shouting clever insults at the nervous speaker
Recent Examples on the Web Perry portrayed sweet, sarcastic smart aleck Chandler Bing for 10 seasons on Friends, garnering an Emmy nomination., 29 Oct. 2023 In this series launch, Billingham unveils a brash — and battered — smart aleck protagonist. Erin Douglass, The Christian Science Monitor, 11 Aug. 2023 Declan Miller – a recent widower, ballroom dancer, and devoted smart aleck – has a full plate. Monitor Contributors, The Christian Science Monitor, 20 July 2023 With a smart aleck’s wit and a knack for clear-eyed lyrics, the Brooklyn singer is a sympathetic narrator. Globe Staff,, 5 May 2023 In real life, however, Mr. Jaffee was the opposite of a smart aleck: a genteel, unassuming man whose in-person humor was delivered with a wink, not a cudgel. Neil Genzlinger, New York Times, 10 Apr. 2023 The Idea Oven — a suggestion box for half-baked whims, inspirations and notions for new products, businesses or innovations — was a regular feature in this column at the turn of the century (yes, this century, smart aleck). Eric Zorn,, 30 Apr. 2021 Ellie is a smart aleck 13-year-old with a mysterious immunity to the virus. Nick Romano,, 3 Feb. 2023 Nobody likes a smart aleck, but most turkey hunters will agree there is no sound more inviting on a crisp spring morning than the raspy rumble of a boisterous gobbler talking some serious trash. Matt Williams, Dallas News, 25 Mar. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'smart aleck.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Aleck, nickname for Alexander

First Known Use

1864, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of smart aleck was in 1864

Dictionary Entries Near smart aleck

Cite this Entry

“Smart aleck.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

smart aleck

smart al·​eck ˈsmärt-ˌal-ik How to pronounce smart aleck (audio)
: a person who likes to show off in a clever or witty but annoying way
or smart-aleck
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