One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A person with an affectation of wisdom or knowledge, regarded with scorn or irritation by others; a know-it-all.
- ‘While being no particular fan of cops myself, I sympathise with them when they have to deal with wiseacres like you and your cohorts.’
- ‘Well, those wiseacres were proved wrong then, and they're going to be proved wrong again.’
- ‘For years, successive generations of caddies lived up to their reputation as low-life wiseacres who always knew better than the guy who was paying them and were not afraid to say so.’
- ‘Either way, the name stuck - providing great fodder for annoying wiseacres all over the state.’
- ‘When she barked, they straightened in the chair and when she raised a brow they commenced rehearsing the wiseacre questions that had been scripted for them.’
Late 16th century: from Middle Dutch wijsseggher ‘soothsayer’, probably from the Germanic base of wit. The assimilation to acre remains unexplained.
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