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Too Clever By Half: Meaning?

Posted by Bob on August 24, 2000

In Reply to: Too Clever By Half: Meaning? posted by Frank Apodaca on August 23, 2000

: What is the origin and meaning of this phrase? I posted about 2 weeks ago, and I just can't believe that nobody knows what this means! Please help :)

Sorry. Sometimes a request falls through the cracks.
"Too clever by half" is a derogatory comment about a speaker who offends his audience by verbal overkill: an inappropriate display of erudition, a point made and made and made again, an argument that goes (50%!) too far, etc. It is 100% British, and is not used in America, except by Anglophiles like me, who are probably regarded as too clever by half as a result.