wiseacre

play
noun wise·acre \ˈwīz-ˌā-kər\

Definition of wiseacre

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

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>

Did You Know?

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


First Known Use: 1595


WISEACRE Defined for English Language Learners

wiseacre

play
noun wise·acre \ˈwīz-ˌā-kər\

Definition of wiseacre for English Language Learners

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



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