You Do Not Want to Be a Smart Aleck

@Corbin5 (142174)
United States
May 15, 2019 10:58am CST
A "smart aleck" is a know-it-all, a smarty pants, a wise guy, an obnoxious person or a person who is far too conceited. If a parent or teacher called one of us kids a "smart aleck," we were in big trouble. I always wondered who the Aleck fellow in "smart aleck" happened to be. In the 1840s, in New York City, Aleck Hoag was a pimp, and he is the "aleck" in "smart aleck." Aleck Hoag and his wife Melinda had a pretty good two-person prostitution ring going on. Melinda would lure unsuspecting men into dark alleys or hotel rooms. When her male customers were distracted, Melinda would empty the pockets of her customers and place the contents of those pockets aside. When the time was right, Melinda's husband, Aleck, would sneak into those dark alleys and hotel rooms and make away with the contents of those pockets sweet Melinda had pilfered. Of course, Aleck promised half of the stolen goods to a few policemen in exchange for protection. After a while, Aleck decided there was no reason to pay off the police due to Aleck becoming a know-it-all, a smarty pants, a wise guy, etc. Due to no longer paying off the police, Aleck was arrested in 1850. It became a joke among the police officers in New York City that Aleck was not that smart after all. Photo: Aleck Hoag courtesy of rebelcircus
33 people like this
33 responses
@CarolDM (25209)
• United States
15 May
What a col story form the 1800s. Nobody likes a smart aleck for sure.
4 people like this
@Corbin5 (142174)
• United States
15 May
I am just glad I know who that Aleck guy happened to be.
3 people like this
@CarolDM (25209)
• United States
15 May
@Corbin5 I had never read about this guy before. Interesting.
1 person likes this
@much2say (44325)
• United States
15 May
Interesting - I never thought of Aleck being a name of an actual person in that phrase. Geez, what a story behind that! We knew an Aleck, but he was actually not so smart .
3 people like this
@Corbin5 (142174)
• United States
15 May
I suppose a lot of Alecks out there are not that smart. Poor fellas.
2 people like this
@much2say (44325)
• United States
16 May
@Corbin5 Probably so. Only the smart alecks are smart .
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (142174)
• United States
16 May
1 person likes this
@DianneN (117920)
• United States
15 May
Glad that smart aleck got what he deserved. I wonder if his wife was arrested, too? No one likes a smart aleck. Karma worked against him, too.
3 people like this
@Corbin5 (142174)
• United States
15 May
Yes, she was also arrested. He escaped from prison once but was apprehended. I bet he did not give a hoot about his poor wife Melinda.
3 people like this
@DianneN (117920)
• United States
16 May
@Corbin5 I figured. He wasn’t so smart afterall, and a real jerk, too.
3 people like this
@Marty1 (45132)
• Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
15 May
good post as usual! I never thought about the story behind the aleck! thank you for explaining!
2 people like this
@Corbin5 (142174)
• United States
15 May
Thank you, my friend. Aleck really thought he was all that and more.
1 person likes this
@Marty1 (45132)
• Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
15 May
@Corbin5 bet he felt silly sitting in jail because of his so-called brains!
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (142174)
• United States
15 May
@Marty1 I am sure he did feel silly. He thought he was too smart to be caught.
1 person likes this
@amadeo (92835)
• United States
15 May
I remember this phrase very very well.I used to hear this when growing up. Thanks for sharing this story with us
2 people like this
@Corbin5 (142174)
• United States
15 May
I heard the phrase often growing up too. Not a good thing to be called a smart aleck.
2 people like this
@amadeo (92835)
• United States
15 May
@Corbin5 Not have not heard this for some time.Wonder what they call it today?
2 people like this
@Corbin5 (142174)
• United States
15 May
@amadeo Oh, I would think they would call the person a "jerk" today, perhaps.
2 people like this
@just4him (152980)
• Green Bay, Wisconsin
17 May
Interesting how that term got started. No, it's not good to be called a smart aleck.
2 people like this
@Corbin5 (142174)
• United States
17 May
Even the photo of Aleck has him looking like he is all that and more.
1 person likes this
@just4him (152980)
• Green Bay, Wisconsin
17 May
@Corbin5 Yes, it does.
1 person likes this
• United States
15 May
Aleck got greedy and too big for his britches it seems.
2 people like this
@Corbin5 (142174)
• United States
15 May
He certainly did. He thought far too highly of himself.
• United States
15 May
@Corbin5 It was good that the police knocked him down a few pegs. It's also interesting as it shows just how far back "buying off the police" went.
1 person likes this
• Wheat Ridge, Colorado
16 May
What a hilarious story haha
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (142174)
• United States
16 May
I have to say that Aleck Hoag's photo has him looking the part of a smart aleck. He looks like he thinks he is soooo special.
1 person likes this
• Wheat Ridge, Colorado
16 May
@Corbin5 Yes him with his silly mustache and spindly fingers lol
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (142174)
• United States
16 May
1 person likes this
@nela13 (19519)
• Portugal
15 May
Now I know the origin of the expression
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (142174)
• United States
16 May
I was pleased to learn the origin too.
1 person likes this
@nela13 (19519)
• Portugal
17 May
@Corbin5 you always have interesting discussions
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (142174)
• United States
17 May
@nela13 Oh, thank you for your kind words, my friend.
1 person likes this
@akalinus (26546)
• United States
15 May
Very interesting. I never heard that story before.
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (142174)
• United States
15 May
I thought it was interesting too. Sure would make a lot of potential parents avoid the name Aleck.
@akalinus (26546)
• United States
16 May
@Corbin5 I know people name Alex. I wonder if that is a derivative of Aleck. One Alex I know howls in the woods like a wolf.
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (142174)
• United States
16 May
@akalinus Aleck is a derivative of Alexander. You know a very unusual Alex.
1 person likes this
@simone10 (28132)
• United States
17 May
What an interesting story. I often wonder where some of our phrases come from.
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (142174)
• United States
17 May
Yes, it is fun to find out the origin of those phrases we use often.
1 person likes this
@simone10 (28132)
• United States
18 May
@Corbin5 yeah, it is fun and interesting.
1 person likes this
@Hannihar (60858)
16 May
@Corbin5 I always wanted to be smart but not a smart aleck.
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (142174)
• United States
16 May
Smart does a person a lot more good than smart aleck, for sure.
1 person likes this
@Hannihar (60858)
17 May
@Corbin5 That is too but I feel I am of average intelligence in things and can be a smart aleck at times.
1 person likes this
@TheSojourner (21373)
• United States
16 May
Fun post! I love these kinds of stories.
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (142174)
• United States
16 May
Thank you. It is fun to determine the origin of some common phrases.
1 person likes this
• Rupert, Idaho
16 May
Very interesting story! That's good to know!
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (142174)
• United States
16 May
It was fun researching that term that was used so often when I was a kid.
1 person likes this
• Rupert, Idaho
17 May
@Corbin5 I bet that it was! I use it all the time with my son, lol....because he acts like one a lot!
1 person likes this
@Nakitakona (1088)
15 May
What a dirty trick! We have lots of "Smart Aleck" kids here. Locally we call them "tuso" (wise and tricky).
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (142174)
• United States
16 May
Yes, it does sound like your area has quite a few smart alecks.
1 person likes this
17 May
@Corbin5 Juvenile delinquents are so many. They contribute to society problems.
1 person likes this
@Mulidi (1418)
• Cruz Bay, Virgin Islands (U.S.)
15 May
lol I don't know where I was in1840. Nobody likes a smart aleck
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (142174)
• United States
15 May
Yes, anyone who is a smart aleck is to be avoided.
1 person likes this
@Mulidi (1418)
• Cruz Bay, Virgin Islands (U.S.)
15 May
1 person likes this
@JESSY3236 (9280)
• United States
17 May
I didn't know this. I learned something today.
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (142174)
• United States
17 May
It is fun to learn new things. It was new information for me too.
1 person likes this
@Hate2Iron (12754)
• Canada
17 May
I wonder why Melinda wasn't given more notoriety?? Everyone has heard the term Smart Alec but she seems to have been completely forgotten!
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (142174)
• United States
17 May
Yes, poor Melinda did not get the press that Aleck did.
@dgobucks226 (17144)
16 May
Not only was he a smart-aleck (not) but that was a pretty good game of swindling all those men out of their valuables. I guess greed got the best of him. Even gangsters know you've got to pay the piper or in this case the police...
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (142174)
• United States
17 May
Yes, he was too smart for his own good.
1 person likes this
• United States
16 May
really?? dang, don't reckon i'd e'er thought 'f where the origin'd come from, lol. yup, turned out not so smart. pitiful how folks chose to make their livin'....'n still do.
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (142174)
• United States
16 May
In the photo, Aleck sure has a smug look on his face.
1 person likes this