clever

adjective

clev·​er ˈkle-vər How to pronounce clever (audio)
1
a
: 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
cleverish adjective
cleverly adverb
cleverness 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.
Recent Examples on the Web Over the last 10-plus years, Drug Church has mingled catchy hardcore with clever lyrics about the complexities of human nature that are equally biting and tender. Brenna Ehrlich, Rolling Stone, 17 July 2024 While the swindlers engage in a clever back-and-forth with land-owners and major developers who are desperate to repurpose land, the police relentlessly pursue them. Patrick Frater, Variety, 15 July 2024 The backdoor was implemented through a five-stage loader that used a series of simple but clever techniques to hide itself. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, 15 July 2024 Blink Twice stars Naomie Ackie as Frida, a young, clever, Los Angeles cocktail waitress who has her eyes set on the prize: philanthropist and tech mogul Slater King (Channing Tatum). Glenn Garner, Deadline, 13 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for clever 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'clever.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

circa 1595, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of clever was circa 1595

Dictionary Entries Near clever

Cite this Entry

“Clever.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/clever. Accessed 23 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

clever

adjective
clev·​er ˈklev-ər How to pronounce clever (audio)
1
: showing skill especially in using one's hands
clever fingers
2
: quick in learning
a clever pupil
3
: showing wit or imagination
a clever idea
cleverish adjective
cleverly adverb
cleverness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on clever

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