wiseacre

play
noun wise·acre \ ˈwīz-ˌā-kər \

Definition of wiseacre

:one who pretends to knowledge or cleverness; especially :smart aleck

wiseacre was our Word of the Day on 08/05/2012. Hear the podcast!

Examples of wiseacre in a Sentence

  1. Quit being such a wiseacre and help your mother.

  2. a loudmouthed wiseacre who thinks he is more amusing than he really is

Recent Examples of wiseacre from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wiseacre.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

wiseacre Has Old English Roots

Given the spelling and definition of "wiseacre," you might guess that the word derives from the sense of wise meaning "insolent" or "fresh"-the sense that gives us "wisecrack" and "wisenheimer." But, in fact, "wiseacre" came to English by a different route; it derived from the Middle Dutch "wijssegger" (meaning "soothsayer"), a modification of the Old High German wīzzago. "Wiseacre" first appeared in English way back in the late 16th century, while the "insolent" sense of "wise" and the words formed from it are products of the 19th and 20th centuries. The etymologies of "wiseacre" and "wise" are not completely distinct, however; the ancestors of "wiseacre" are loosely tied to the same Old English root that gave us "wise."

Origin and Etymology of wiseacre

Middle Dutch wijssegger soothsayer, modification of Old High German wīzzago; akin to Old English wītega soothsayer, witan to know

wiseacre Synonyms


WISEACRE Defined for English Language Learners

wiseacre

play
noun

Definition of wiseacre for English Language Learners

  • : a person who says or does things that are funny but also annoying



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