clever

adjective
clev·er | \ˈkle-vər \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from clever

cleverish \-v(ə-)rish \ adjective
cleverly \-vər-lē \ adverb
cleverness \-vər-nəs \ 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

The actors' voices are capable and their improvised asides clever, but punchlines feel thrown away, without the campiness necessary for a truly successful parody. Marissa Oberlander, Chicago Reader, "Wild Women of Planet Wongo," 21 June 2018 Since 2011, there have been eight seasons and 149 episodes that, even upon multiple viewings, are always funny, clever and heartfelt. Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter, "Critic's Notebook: In Praise of 10 Superbly Written TV Series," 23 May 2018 Out of nowhere, the movie lands in the zone of gimmick, by carting out a story trick that’s clever and yet hard to believe in terms of the characters. Mick Lasalle, Houston Chronicle, "Review: ‘Tully’ is mixed results for Jason Reitman, Diablo Cody and Charlize Theron reunion," 4 May 2018 The judges, a team of editors and reporters at STAT, said picking a winner was difficult — each of the finalists brought something clever, elegant, and potentially game-changing to the table. Eric Boodman, STAT, "How gut bacteria impact cancer treatment: meet the STAT Madness 2018 Editors’ Pick," 2 Apr. 2018 The cast keeps up the energy with clever use of the multilevel set, percussive instruments, and audience interaction in the aisles. Marissa Oberlander, Chicago Reader, "Chicago Shakespeare’s Peter Pan is a soaring delight for both kids and adults," 11 July 2018 The Pack Trench and Ultralight Trench fixed this problem with their clever design. Matt Jancer, Outside Online, "A Eulogy to the Sierra Designs Ultralight Trench," 12 June 2018 Technically, the film is a marvel, particularly its tense score, clever set design, brisk editing, and nifty (in an unsettling way) camerawork. David Lewis, San Francisco Chronicle, "In ‘Hereditary’ starring Toni Collete, a family tree gets uprooted in chilling ways," 4 June 2018 The single does, however, come with what appears to be a pretty clever Beyoncé reference. refinery29.com, "Drake’s New Song “I’m Upset” Points Out A Pretty Big Problem He Has With Women," 27 May 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about clever

Phrases Related to clever

clever clogs

clever dick

too clever by half

Statistics for clever

Last Updated

16 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for clever

The first known use of clever was circa 1595

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for clever

clever

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of clever

: intelligent and able to learn things quickly

: showing intelligent thinking

: funny in a way that shows intelligence

clever

adjective
clev·er | \ˈkle-vər \
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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on clever

What made you want to look up clever? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

required by fashion, etiquette, or custom

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!