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See also: besserwisser



Borrowed from German Besserwisser.


Besserwisser (plural Besserwissers)

  1. A know-it-all, wiseguy, wiseacre, smart aleck.
    • 1973, Robert G. Collins; Kenneth McRobbie, The Eastern European Imagination in Literature, page 103:
      They are not Besserwissers; they just know better because they have had the experience. Capitalism has no lure for them, as socialism does for their West Central European counterparts.
    • 1993, Ullica Segerstråle, Bringing the Scientist Back In, in the anthology Controversial science: from content to contention (Thomas Brante, Steve Fuller, William Lynch, editors):
      There is an authoritarian ring to many of the new approaches to the sociology of scientific knowledge, a Besserwisser attitude, whereby the sociologist knows best and does not need to consult with the object of his or her study.
    • 1995, Gordon A. Craig, “Konrad Adenauer and the United States”, in Reiner Pommerin, editor, The American Impact on Postwar Germany, Berghahn Books, →ISBN, page 7:
      [] that Adenauer was always a Besserwisser who was convinced that other people, even when they were heads of government in other countries, did not understand their own interests as well as he did []
    • 2006, Arvi Hurskainen; Lotta Harjula; Maaria Ylänkö, Africa in the long run: festschrift in the honour of Professor Arvi Hurskainen:
      The proverb functions as a warning to a ‘Besserwisser’, because at the end a ‘know-it-all’ will drive away even his or her best friends.



Compound of besser (better) +‎ wissen (know) +‎ -er (-er), literally better-knower.


  • IPA(key): /ˈbɛsɐˌvɪsɐ/ (Germany, Austro-Bavarian)
  • IPA(key): /ˈb̥ɛsːɐˌvɪsːɐ/ (Austro-Bavarian)
  • IPA(key): /ˈb̥ɛsːərˌvɪsːər/ (Switzerland, Austro-Bavarian)
  • Hyphenation: Bes‧ser‧wis‧ser
  • (file)


Besserwisser m (strong, genitive Besserwissers, plural Besserwisser, feminine Besserwisserin)

  1. (derogatory) know-it-all, wiseguy, wiseacre, smart aleck
    Synonyms: Klugscheißer, Schlaumeier, Oberschlauer, (Bavaria) Gscheidhaferl
    Er ist ein solcher Besserwisser, dass nicht einmal die Lehrer mit ihm diskutieren mögen.
    He’s such a know-it-all even the teachers don’t want to argue with him.
    • 1905, Theodor Fontane, Zeus in Mission:
      Gewiß, die Deutschen, / Sie taugen auch nicht viel die lieben Schlingel, / Sind Besserwisser, knurrn und querulieren, / Und schreiben Bücher, drin sie mir beweisen: / Es sei nicht viel mit mir; im letzten Grunde / Bestünd’ ich nur durch Compromiß und Gnade.
      Certainly, the Germans / They are not good for much, the dear scoundrels, / They’re know-it-alls, they growl and groan, / And write books, in which they prove to me: / There’s not much to me; in the last instance / I’d consist only of compromise and grace.


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