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
Quit being such a wiseacre and help your mother.
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
Definition of wiseacre for English Language Learners
: a person who says or does things that are funny but also annoying
Seen and Heard
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