What Is A Word For Someone Who Thinks They Are Smart But Are Not?

There are many ways to describe a person who thinks they are smart but they aren’t; terms include pseudo-intellectual, conceited, arrogant, patronizing, pretentious, or hubris. These terms have a negative connotation, as people who think they’re smarter than they are can behave in negative ways towards others. 

There are also psychological terms that explain why some people believe they’re smarter than they are.

What Does Pseudo-Intellectual Mean?

This is perhaps the most accurate term to describe a person who believes they are smart when they’re not, as that’s exactly what it means. A pseudo-intellectual will typically put a lot of effort into how intelligent they appear to others.

What Does Conceited Mean?

A person who is conceited is often described as being “full of themselves” or overly confident to the point of arrogance. A conceited person might also have a false sense of intelligence.

What Does Arrogant Mean?

Arrogant is defined as a personality trait that displays an excessive amount of confidence, with the belief that they are better than everybody else. Among other things, an arrogant person will believe they are smarter than others, even if it’s not true.

What Does Patronizing Mean?

A patronizing person is one who tries to make others feel less intelligent or less skilled than they are through their words and actions. This can be a subtle behavior that can be difficult to pick up on.

What Does Pretentious Mean?

Pretentious means someone who tries to make themselves seem smarter and better than others. A pretentious person will often lie or exaggerate their abilities or their intelligence in order to try and convince others that they are as great as they display themselves to be.

What Does Hubris Mean?

Hubris is an inflated sense of pride or self-confidence that will have a person under the impression that they have superior abilities over others, including intelligence. Hubris is often seen as excessive or negative and is obvious to those who are around a hubris person.

The Dunning-Kruger Effect

The Dunning-Kruger Effect essentially explains that it’s common for some people to have this incorrect idea about how smart they are. It’s a form of cognitive bias; a belief that isn’t correct, but we have subconsciously convinced ourselves that what we believe is the truth.

It can be a defense mechanism or a way to hide insecurity. It might also be caused by someone’s refusal to acknowledge the ideas of others.