One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1North American A person who speaks and behaves as if they know more than others.
- ‘Well, I have felt he's been a wise guy for some time and it certainly appears he's being that way now with his interlocutors.’
- ‘He was no wise guy or rebel, but rather was on his best behavior, knowing that his commercial future and fame were on the line, and that he would need to appeal to an older demographic with the passing of time.’
- ‘Well alright mister wise guy, if you're so clever you tell us what colour it should be!’
- ‘Some wise guy had a tape measure with him and took a reading.’
- ‘He continued to play numerous characters alternating between lead and supporting roles in various comedy flicks usually seen as a loveable slob, a bumbling schemer or an overbearing wise guy.’
2US A member of the Mafia.
- ‘Jimmy is an ex-con and small-time wise guy running a grocery business.’
- ‘His mob family is undergoing an anarchic growth spurt, as wise guys jailed in the 1980s are suddenly free to get back in the game.’
- ‘Could be any inner-city gang member or wise guy.’
- ‘While other kids were flipping burgers, he was hiring himself out to local wise guys as muscle or masterminding his own bizarre capers.’
- ‘In my mind, I pictured him to be a little Italian wise guy, like the mafia hit man that's always the squealer on someone in those old movies.’
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