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    #1

    wise guy

    There is another phrase I don't quite understand.
    This is about a description of "the misunderstanding between a British waiter and "me"--an American who had just come to Britain.

    "I"asked what sandwiches they had, "We have roast beef," said the man behind the bar, "and we have ham and cheese."
    "I'll have ham and cheese," I decided.
    The man looked at me as if I had misunderstood him. "We have roast beef and we have ham and cheese," he repeated, but more slowly.
    "Yes," I agreed. I was with him this far.
    "So which will it be?"
    "Ham and cheese," I replied with a small sense of foreboding.
    He looked at me as if wondering if I was a wise guy. "You want one of each?"

    I've learned that a wise guy is often used to describe a person who thinks himself clever but actually not. Then here it was explained as "a trouble maker". Is this the right interpretation? Does "a wise guy" also have the meaning of a trouble maker?

  1. FreeToyInside's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: wise guy

    I'd say not inherently a trouble maker, I always think of "wise guy" (or even wiseguy, one word) as a cocky and arrogant person who always talks back to people, which could certainly get them in trouble. I find it fairly synonymous with 'smart mouth(ed)' or a 'smart alec/aleck', as in:

    Mom: Is there someone at the door?
    Son: Does it look like it? (this is a very typical wise guy/smart aleck response)
    Mom: Don't be a smart aleck/Don't be a smart mouth/Don't be smart.

    However 'wise guy' doesn't sound as modern or used as much as 'smart-mouth' and 'smart aleck'.

    Also note: Wiseguy at some point started being associated with the mafia. So you'll sometimes hear (mostly just in movies these days) of mobsters being called 'wiseguys'.


    (not a teacher, just a language lover)

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    #3

    Re: wise guy

    This is very clear. Thank you Free ToyInside

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