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See also: besserwisser



Borrowed from German Besserwisser, from besser (better) + Wisser (knower). The latter is a neologism from wissen (to know, verb).


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 978-1-57181-004-5, 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.



besser (better) +‎ wissen (know) +‎ -er (-er)


  • IPA(key): /ˈbɛsɐˌvɪsɐ/
  • Hyphenation: Bes‧ser‧wis‧ser
  • (file)


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

  1. (pejorative) know-it-all, wiseguy, wiseacre, smart aleck



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