Why do we call someone too smart for his own good “smart aleck”?

The expression, smart aleck is often used for someone who is too smart for his own good. But where does this term come from? Does aleck have some deep roots in some other culture like almost every other word in our dictionary, actually no it comes from a name. In 1840s, when New York scam artist Aleck Hoag paid off the cops to look the other way while her wife acted like a prostitute to bring men in their home, then Aleck would come in the room and frighten the man, he would then demand money which the man would pay. Aleck was doing good business with this scam but he was tired of paying the middle man, the cops. He tried to do it without paying them and didn’t quite work out. The cops caught him and his wife, they called him smart aleck.

Some say Aleck was a pimp but the source are not rock solid to believe. Aleck would also do this with his other women, while the customer was asleep he would come and take the wallet and other belongings.

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