clever

adjective
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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from clever

cleverish \ ˈkle-​v(ə-​)rish How to pronounce cleverish (audio) \ adjective
cleverly \ ˈkle-​vər-​lē How to pronounce cleverly (audio) \ adverb
cleverness \ ˈkle-​vər-​nəs How to pronounce cleverness (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 The saying started out as a clever, if biting, retort delivered by Generation Z in response to the lame directives/opinions/hand wringings of pretty much anyone over 30. Heidi Stevens, chicagotribune.com, "Column: We officially sucked all the fun out of ‘OK, Boomer.’ This is why we can’t have nice things.," 4 Nov. 2019 Unfortunately, not everyone has Odell Beckham Jr. grade follicles, but the good news is anyone can fake it, and Tracee Ellis Ross just showed how with a clever beauty trick. Jennifer Ford, Essence, "Tracee Ellis Ross Just Showed Us The Quickest Way To Get A Mustache," 28 Oct. 2019 Trick Shots The Dukes' new tools use clever tricks to hide themselves and their communications inside a victim's network. Wired, "Stealthy Russian Hacker Group Resurfaces With Clever New Tricks," 17 Oct. 2019 Connery escapes from custody after some clever scheming at the Fairmont Hotel, then gets in an automobile chase through Russian Hill, ending with an explosion that launches a cable car 30 feet in the air. Peter Hartlaub, SFChronicle.com, "The enduring appeal of ‘The Rock,’ beloved San Francisco film," 29 Aug. 2019 Colors are a clever trick that evolution has hit on to help the brain keep track of surfaces under changing lighting conditions. Anil K. Seth, Scientific American, "The Neuroscience of Reality," 27 Aug. 2019 People are very resourceful, and the kitchen is one of the places where the most clever among us can shine. Becky Krystal, Washington Post, "Eight non-culinary tools you can use in the kitchen," 9 Aug. 2019 One researcher says using Cold War satellite images was a clever scientific trick. Eric Niiler, WIRED, "Cold War Spy Photos Show How Fast Himalaya Glaciers Are Melting," 19 June 2019 The menu, by Hyatt’s James Angoli, included the featured beer for every course as an ingredient — a clever trick that didn’t always pay off. Paul Hodgins, latimes.com, "Adult Beverages: Beer makes inroads into wine’s world, with mixed results," 6 June 2019

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

Statistics for clever

Last Updated

13 Nov 2019

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
How to pronounce clever (audio)

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 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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on clever

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for clever

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with clever

Spanish Central: Translation of clever

Nglish: Translation of clever for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of clever for Arabic Speakers

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

to engage in dissolute behavior

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • rotelle pasta
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

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!