- skip - Brewer’s



A corruption of the German weissager (a soothsayer or prophet). This, like the Greek sophism, has quite lost its original meaning, and is applied to dunces, wise only “in their own conceit.”

There is a story told that Ben Jonson, at the Devil’s Tavern, in Fleet Street, said to a country gentleman who boasted of his landed estates, “What care we for your dirt and clods? Where you have an acre of land, I have ten acres of wit.” The landed gentleman retorted by calling BenGood Mr. Wiseacre.” The story may pass for what it is worth.

previous entry · index · next entry


Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

previous entry · index · next entry

Wisdom of Many and the Wit of One (The)
Wise (The)
Wise as a Serpent
Wise as Solomon
Wise as the Mayor of Banbury
Wise as the Women of Mungret
Wise Men or Wise Women
Wise Men of Greece
Wise Men of the East
Wise Men of Gotham (The)
Wisest Man of Greece
Wishart (George)
Wishing-rod (The)
Wisp of Straw (A)