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Alec is a short form of the forename Alexander. There are two main types of such shortenings: they are convenient for writing, e.g. in lists; or they are essentially spoken pet-names, and thus informal. (See Conventional abbreviations for forenames.)

Short form Long form Informal or written Other short forms Remarks
Alec Alexander informal Alex, Sandy

There is a list of similar names at Conventional abbreviations for forenames, as well as the category:short names

Note that any informal form may be spelled in different ways. Notably, any spelling listed that ends in '-ie' may be written with the ending '-y', and vice versa.
A 'smart alec' is a proverbially a person who tries to be too clever, a 'know-it-all'. Other forms include 'smart aleck', 'smart alick', 'smart Alec', 'smart Aleck', 'smart Alick', 'smart-alec', 'smart-aleck', 'smart-alick', etc. Which 'Alexander' earned this sobriquet is unknown. Cf clever dick.