clev·​er | \ ˈkle-vər How to pronounce clever (audio) \

Definition of clever

1a : skillful or adroit in using the hands or body : nimble clever fingers
b : mentally quick and resourceful a clever young lawyer
2 : marked by wit or ingenuity a clever solution a clever idea the play's clever dialogue
3 dialect
a : good
b : easy to use or handle

Other Words from clever

cleverish \ ˈkle-​v(ə-​)rish How to pronounce clever (audio) \ adjective
cleverly \ ˈkle-​vər-​lē How to pronounce clever (audio) \ adverb
cleverness \ ˈkle-​vər-​nəs How to pronounce clever (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for clever

clever, adroit, cunning, ingenious mean having or showing practical wit or skill in contriving. clever stresses physical or mental quickness, deftness, or great aptitude. a person clever with horses adroit often implies a skillful use of expedients to achieve one's purpose in spite of difficulties. an adroit negotiator cunning implies great skill in constructing or creating. a filmmaker cunning in his use of special effects ingenious suggests the power of inventing or discovering a new way of accomplishing something. an ingenious software engineer

synonyms see in addition intelligent

Examples of clever in a Sentence

All of Laptsev went to stare at the bride-to-be—she was no beauty, but everyone could see that she was clever, sophisticated … — Isaac Bashevis Singer, New Yorker, 29 Sept. 2003 … the three of them may give Gray Davis, who was too clever for his own good, his comeuppance. — Garrison Keillor, Time, 25 Aug. 2003 Some thought he had no redeeming value whatsoever. A sociopath. A clever manipulator … — Louise Erdrich, New Yorker, 2 Dec. 2002 Those who can't write poetry, write clever letters to the editor. Those who can't write clever letters to the editor, write angry letters to the editor. — Matt Groening, Utne Reader, November/December 1987 The old lady was clever enough and he thought that if she had started from any of the right premises, more might have been expected of her. — Flannery O'Connor, Everything That Rises Must Converge, 1967 Some cats are clever enough to figure out how to operate doorknobs. That's the cleverest idea I've heard yet! She found a clever hiding place for the letter. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Proven to stop razor burn in its tracks, this clever product will leave you with a fresh, toned feeling after every shave. The Salt Lake Tribune, 12 May 2022 In lieu of the usual mess of screws and flimsy dowels, each side of the frame simply clipped together using a clever, integrated locking mechanism that required only a few twists of an Allen key. Mike Darling, Men's Health, 12 May 2022 The video is a collaboration with Matt Parker and Trey Stone, creators of the animated TV series South Park, but this production isn’t funny or clever. Armond White, National Review, 11 May 2022 In track three, Harlow makes clever references to the Golden Corral restaurant and to Grammy-winning singer Ed Sheeran. Mandy Mclaren, The Courier-Journal, 10 May 2022 Okay, that gorgeous Bengal is obviously the best thing about this living room by Bower Studio, but the clever pet-friendly IKEA shelves are a close second. Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, 9 May 2022 For those who love a clever design, consider this cottagecore midi from Exlura. Sanah Faroke,, 7 May 2022 His biting words and clever sound bites have helped to elevate rivalries for the SEC schools where Spurrier coached, Florida from 1990-2001 and South Carolina from 2005-2015. Joseph Goodman |, al, 5 May 2022 What started as a grassroots celebration and a clever pun has now been transformed into a global holiday to celebrate Jedis, the force and all that George Lucas started with the Star Wars franchise. Patrick Connolly, Orlando Sentinel, 4 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'clever.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of clever

circa 1595, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for clever

Middle English cliver, perhaps of Scandinavian origin; akin to Danish dialect kløver alert, skillful

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Time Traveler for clever

Time Traveler

The first known use of clever was circa 1595

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Dictionary Entries Near clever

Cleveland, Mount



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Last Updated

15 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Clever.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for clever


clev·​er | \ ˈkle-vər How to pronounce clever (audio) \
cleverer; cleverest

Kids Definition of clever

1 : having a quick inventive mind a clever designer
2 : showing intelligence, wit, or imagination a clever joke a clever idea
3 : showing skill in using the hands He was very strong and clever with his knife …— Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

Other Words from clever

cleverly adverb
cleverness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on clever

Nglish: Translation of clever for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of clever for Arabic Speakers


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