Learn English – Good synonyms for the words ‘smarthead’ and ‘smartass’, for use in a translation


I am translating a book from Portuguese into English, as an experiment. It used to be popular on the now extinct Orkut social network and is still somewhat discussed in some blogs around the internet.

It was published under the pseudonym, no much is known about the author.

I've been trying get a single word, and if there's a more proper way to translate it into English, I'll adopt it. I'm not having problems with anything else when translating its text, but with this word I do.

Among a few other things, the text addresses a supposed profane and perfidious characteristics of women who manipulate, lie or are insincere; in contrast to the supposedly rare sincere and morally elevated women that can still be found – those who are suitable for a good spouse.

In the text, the author exaustively uses the word "espertinha", which literally translates to "smarthead" or "smartass", exclusively in reference to women who are insincere or manipulate men's emotions, and sometimes used to refer to women who cheat on them. Even though aforementioned translations seem to suffice in a single sentence translated, it happens to appear hundred of times in the text, what is irritating even when reading it in Portuguese. So, given situation I would like to gather a list of words to use as a substitution to those, or even better, one that properly means "insincere woman", since "smarthead" or "smartass" seems too inappropriate or "forced" into the text, for they do not address the issue very specifically. Just for you to have an idea, here are some quotes of the book.

Unfortunately, women are nowadays and in most part negatively polarized in the relationship with the men, not always giving space to the good and superior part that exists in them. The truly sincere ones, who actually exist, are lost amidst the crowds and can’t be easily found, because the smartheads pretend to be honest women themselves.


A typical simulation of misunderstanding happens when, in faking innocence, the smartheads pretend they can't notice the explicit intentions of the males around them, thus refusing to acknowledge the implications of their improper and tolerant attitudes towards men who are courting them.

I even thought about replacing it for other words, according to my understanding, but in the specific case of this word, the author sometimes uses this word repeatedly to address an entire issue, sometimes in explorations that take many pages, and he insists in using only this word. Here is a case, for example, in which he specifically mentions the word.

May it be understood, that when I use the expressions "such women", "these women", "the women", "smartheads", "manipulators", etc, that I am referring exclusively to the insincere, the ones who cheat in the game of love, not to the others.

In conclusion, I don't now how to translate "espertinha" in this context.


After almost 4 years since this question was posted, there's been one remarkable instance and several minor ones of people taking issue w/ what has been written here. I deleted half of it because of that.

Now, it baffles me that some people are just so unreasonable, not understanding the sole purpose of this question was to improve my English knowledge.

If you should take any problem with what's written above, know that's not a issue of mine. It's been 4 years and I'd be pleased to be left alone.

Also bear in mind that I'll reject any requests to edit this section out.

Best Answer

Minx. It is never used for a man. It connotes manipulation, especially using feminine charm, and still applies to a woman influencing either a man or a woman. "Minx"is a bit old-fashioned; so is the action you are describing.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, "Minx: Girl or woman who knows how to control other people to her advantage."

By the Collins Dictionary, "Minx: Bold, flirtatious, or scheming woman."