Origin of ‘smart aleck’

I looked up the spelling of ‘smart aleck’ recently, saw it ended with a ‘k’, wondered where that came from. Incidentally, both aleck and alec are accepted. Google found this:

According to G.L. Cohen, author of Studies in Slang Part 1 (1985), the phrase smart alec(k) arose from the exploits of one Alec Hoag. A celebrated pimp, thief, and confidence man operating out of New York City in the 1840’s, Mr. Hoag, along with his wife Melinda and an accomplice known as "French Jack," operated a con called the "panel game," a method by which prostitutes and their pimps robbed foolish customers.

Origin of ‘smart aleck’

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s