wiseacre

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

a 1600, from Middle Dutch wijssegger (soothsayer), from Old High German wīzzago, wīzago (wise man, prophet, soothsayer), from Proto-Germanic *wītagô (wise one; prophet). Cognate with Old English wītega (wise man, prophet). See also Weissager (soothsayer, seer).

Noun[edit]

wiseacre (plural wiseacres)

  1. One who feigns knowledge or cleverness; one who is wisecracking; an insolent upstart.
    • 1869, Mark Twain, the Innocents Abroad, Random House (2003), pages 298-299
      That other class of wiseacres who twist prophecy in such a manner as to make it promise the destruction and desolation of the same city, use judgement just as bad, since the city is in a very flourishing condition now, unhappily for them.
  2. (obsolete) A learned or wise man.
    • Leland
      Pythagoras learned much [] becoming a mighty wiseacre.

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