I happened to find the origin of the word, ‘smart alec (aleck / alick)’ as I was checking the spelling of the word in a dictionary.
Merriam Webster English Dictionary defines ‘smart alec (aleck / alick)’ as:
An obnoxiously conceited and self-assertive person with pretensions to smartness or cleverness.
And its origin as;
Aleck, nickname for Alexander
First Known Use: 1865.
Now that knowing ‘smart alec’ being a shortened form of ‘smart Alexander,’ I became a bit ill at ease, because I’ve used the word for both sex thus far without any reflection on its origin and gender.
Is there a female counterpart to smart alec? Is it alright to use ‘smart alec (aleck / alick)’ as usual for both a man and a woman?