English Vocabulary

smartass - know-it-all - clever-clog

Is there anyone out there who could tell those 3 nouns apart?
Thanks in advance.

In the mean time (while looking for a reply) I'll tell you the results of a contest of jokes that some clever-clogs set up in 2004 yet. From that time up until now it has been thriving on blogs. I find them a bit mouldy (?) but be it as it may, here are the first 6 smart answers:
Rank 6
It was mealtime during a flight on a British Airways plane:
'Would you like dinner?' the flight attendant asked the man seated in the front row.
'What are my choices?' the man asked.
'Yes or no,' she replied.
5th Place
A flight attendant was stationed at the departure gate to check tickets. As a man approached, she extended her hand for the ticket but he opened his trench coat and flashed her.
Without blinking an eyelid she said 'Sir, I need to see your ticket not your stub.'
4th Place
A lady was picking through the frozen turkeys at a branch of Sainsbury's but she couldn't find one big enough for her family. She asked a passing assistant, 'Do these turkeys get any bigger?'
The assistant replied, 'I'm afraid not, they're dead.'
3rd Place
The policeman got out of his car and approached the boy racer he had pulled over for speeding.
'I've been waiting for you all day,' the bobby said.
The kid replied, 'Yes, well I got here as fast as I could.'
When the policeman finally stopped laughing, he sent the kid on his way without a ticket.
2nd Place
A lorry driver was driving along on a country road. A sign came up that read ' Low Bridge Ahead.' Before he realised it, the bridge was directly ahead and he got stuck under it. Cars were backed up for miles. Finally, a police car came up.
The policeman got out of his car and walked to the lorry's cab, telling the driver :
'Got stuck, eh?'
The lorry driver replied, 'No, I was delivering this bridge and ran out of petrol!'
A teacher at a polytechnic college reminded her pupils of tomorrow's final exam.
'Now listen to me, I won't tolerate any excuses for you not being here tomorrow. I might consider a nuclear attack or a serious personal injury, illness, or a death in your immediate family, but that's it, no other excuses whatsoever!'
A smart-arsed guy at the back of the room raised his hand and asked
'What would happen if I came in tomorrow suffering from complete and utter sexual exhaustion?'
The entire class was reduced to laughter and sniggering.
When silence was restored, the teacher smiled knowingly at the student, shook her head and sweetly said
'Well, I suppose you'd have to write with your other hand'.

Please tell the words in headline apart and tell me.


  • If my level of speech was refined, I'd use "a know-it-all".
    If my language was informal, I'd say " a clever-clog".
    But I am crude and say "Hey, you, smartass!" (I am not talking to you, Gee!)
  • You didn't mention
    the "brainbox" and
    the "bright spark" (informal and often ironic)
    and all the synonyms for the mostly disapproving expression "smartass" (a person who thinks to be very clever and likes to show people this in an annoying way)
    smart alec or aleck
  • What about a wise guy?
  • Wow! I am flabbergasted by that abundance of "smart brainboxes call signs" and I take your word for it (the word of the three of you).
  • Not forgetting the
    Highly gifted
    Highly talented
  • Hello everyone

    Thank you very much GEE raise such a question. After a quick look at the DICTIONARY I have these information

    SMART has 2 senses: stylish and smart. SMART ARSE (United Kingdom) or SMART ASS (USA) is "someone who is always trying to seem smarter/clever than other people in a way that is annoying," and used in offensive way.
    EX. I do not want some SMART ARSE from the city telling me how manage my farm.

    Other possibilities (as you say Raimond) are SMART ALECK (spanish sabelotodo) and SMARTY-PANTS. Both informal but non offensives.
    EX. Okay SMATY-PANTS, you tell me how to do it then!!

    KNOW-ALL(UK)and KNOW-IT-ALL (US) is "a person who thinks that they know much more than other people", a sense near to the smart aleck

    CLEVER DICK/CLOGS (UK) is used in an informal way.
    Ex. If you are such a CLEVER DICK, you finish the crossword puzzle.

    Please, let me add two new words:
    1-CLEVER-CLEVER : "tryint too hard to seem clever"
    Ex I whis John would make some constructive proposals instead of making clever-clever remarks.
    2-TO BE CLEVER BY HALF: "to be too confident of your own intelligence in a way that annoys other people.
    Ex She was too clever by half, always correcting the teacher or coming back with a SMART answer
  • The three terms "smart ass", "clever clogs" and "know-it-all" cover it all, dependent on the level of formality you need. In the first place, all this words have a negative sense.

    Basically, it's an advantage not knowing a lot of insulting or offending words. You're less able to insult other people and, if another person uses an offending word against you, you don't even know that you got offended. To be "stupid" means to be happy.

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