AskDefine | Define wiseacre

The Collaborative Dictionary

Wiseacre \Wise"a*cre\, n. [OD. wijssegger or G. weissager a foreteller, prophet, from weissagen to foretell, to prophesy, OHG. w[imac]ssag?n, corrupted (as if compounded of the words for wise and say) fr. w[imac]zzag?n, fr. w[imac]zzag? a prophet, akin to AS. w[imac]tiga, w[imac]tga, from the root of E. wit. See Wit, v.] [1913 Webster]
A learned or wise man. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] Pythagoras learned much . . . becoming a mighty wiseacre. --Leland. [1913 Webster]
One who makes undue pretensions to wisdom; a would-be-wise person; hence, in contempt, a simpleton; a dunce. [1913 Webster]

Word Net

wiseacre n : an upstart who makes conceited, sardonic, insolent comments [syn: wise guy, smart aleck, wisenheimer, weisenheimer]



Middle Dutch wijssegger "soothsayer" from Old High German wīzzago
note, this etymology is distinct from the etymology of wise


  1. one who feigns knowledge or cleverness; an insolent upstart


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