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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

This is the cream and sugar of Shiru’s clever business model, a benign-seeming variation on the data-mining that drives so much modern commerce. Graham Ambrose,, "Free coffee — with a catch — is coming to Massachusetts," 14 July 2018 There’s a pair of optic-white jeans with an allover print, a couple of unisex sweatshirts bearing her image in the center, and a key chain with a clever new OK logo, a twist on the iconic CK. Emily Farra, Vogue, "Calvin Klein Jeans Est. 1978 Is Raf Simons’s Latest Addition to the Brand—And Prices Start at Just $60," 13 July 2018 Toxic In another clever reinterpretation, Brit came out in an apple-red bodysuit with a glowing green jungle background, a sensuous Eve tempting her audience. Cara Kelly, USA TODAY, "Britney Spears is back on tour and you better believe she's here to work," 13 July 2018 The following beers topped The Bee’s list of the cleverest names throughout the year’s first six months. Benjy Egel, sacbee, "These 15 Sacramento-area beers have the cleverest names of any released in 2018," 12 July 2018 But the clever campaign, a collaborative effort by the marketing department to put first baseman Jesus Aguilar into the All-Star Game via the National League’s Final Five vote, took off. Paul Sullivan,, "Cubs can't expect Brewers to slip again — their success is no fluke," 12 July 2018 Perhaps Trump views his embrace of America’s longtime ideological foe as a clever negotiating strategy. James Stavridis, Time, "Democracy Isn't Perfect, But It Will Still Prevail," 12 July 2018 Warner knows Chance from growing up in Chicago, and her tantalizing, clever lyrics frequently engaged the audience in call-and-response. Erin Richards And Samantha West, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Eaux Claires IV review: Day 2 music," 8 July 2018 From a perspective of science, the material is a clever mesh of silicates with a dash of fluorine secret sauce. Lee Hutchinson, Ars Technica, "The Internet-demanded, partially scientific testing of Ultra-Ever Dry (in HD!)," 4 July 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.

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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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Phrases Related to clever

clever clogs

clever dick

too clever by half

Statistics for clever

Last Updated

18 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for clever

The first known use of clever was circa 1595

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More Definitions for clever



English Language Learners Definition of clever

: intelligent and able to learn things quickly

: showing intelligent thinking

: funny in a way that shows intelligence


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

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Comments on clever

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