Green’s Dictionary of Slang

smarty-pants n.

also Miss Smarty-drawers, smarty-boots, -britches, -drawers, smartiepants, smartipants, smartboots, smartpants

1. (orig. US) a general term of usu. light-hearted abuse.

[Aus]K.S. Prichard Haxby’s Circus 235: It was at Yanda that some ‘smart boots’ as Dan said, ‘took a tumble’.
[US]B. Schulberg What Makes Sammy Run? (1992) 67: Three years later I would be sitting in a Hollywood night club watching my copy boy dance the rhumba with one of those Vassar smarty-pants.
F. Ayer quoted in Rogers A.J. Ayer 170: I do not like that smarty-boots Connolly.
[US]T. Thursday ‘Once Upon a Crime’ in Crack Detective Sept. [Internet] Please bring Miss Smarty Britches down here.
[UK]F. Norman in Police and the Public in Norman’s London (1969) 136: Old smarty-pants crosses the road very slowly and came over to me.
[US]R. Woodley Champ 68: ‘Little smartpants,’ Dolly muttered.
[Can]M. Atwood Cat’s Eye (1989) 121: Carol is a smarty-pants.
[Ire](con. 1970) G. Moxley Danti-Dan in McGuinness Dazzling Dark (1996) I iv: Little fucking smartie pants, huh.
[UK]R. Barnard Corpse at the Haworth Tandoori 146: You’re getting to be a real smartypants.
[Aus]Age (Melbourne) 9 May 19/3: Then in minces Miss Smarty-drawers, all prim and proper.
[US]P. Cornwell Blow Fly (2004) 17: Who invited smarty pants?
[UK]K. Richards Life 90: Three or four real smarty-pants, with the usual bow ties.

2. attrib. use of sense 1.

[US]T. Thursday ‘Base on Balds’ in Sports Winners Spring n.p.: This was a new kind of smile. The only ones we had seen before was always cocksure and smarty-pants.
[Aus]Age (Melbourne) 9 June 16/8: [C]heap word-plays and smarty-drawers remarks.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 279: I hope you’re proud, Mr. Smartypants lawyer.
[US]C. Hiaasen Skinny Dip 322: This smarty-pants white kid and a big nigra feller.

3. as a term of address, usu. negative.

[US]W.P. McGivern Big Heat 21: I look at their names when I do the dusting, Smarty-Pants.
[US]Mad mag. Dec. 35: Smartie pants, smartie pants! / Can’t get a ticket for the U.N. Dance!
[US]L. Rosten Dear ‘Herm’ 186: Okay, Smarty Pants, what is the right way to relate that brain-teaser?
[US]E. Torres After Hours 193: It’s easy for you, smarty-drawers.
[UK]Beano Comic Library No. 176 55: Ok, Smarty-Pants – spill the beans!
[UK]J. Cameron It Was An Accident 114: ‘All right smartipants,’ she went, ‘what do you want to know before I chew you up and spit you out?’.

4. (US black) a young man at the outset of his sexual career.

[US] (con. 1940s–50s) C. Major Juba to Jive.