Too smart by half

Posted by Bob on September 29, 2005

In Reply to: Too smart by half posted by Diane on September 29, 2005

: So where does "Too smart by half" come from? And if "Too smart by half" is an insult, wouldn't "Too smart by 100%" be even worse? (Or maybe I'm being too smart by half?)

Too smart by half would be 150%, and too smart by 100% would be 200%, so actually, you'd be too smart by 33%. It's a British usage, mostly, little used in the US. Most often "too clever by half, I believe. As is this explanation.