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 Between space-maximizing organizers and convenient cooling gadgets, there are all kinds of clever solutions that shoppers keep adding to their carts. Isabel Garcia, Peoplemag, 12 Apr. 2024 Good Pet Stuff's Hidden Litter Planter for $67 nicely blends into small spaces with a clever plant disguise. Medea Giordano, WIRED, 11 Apr. 2024 One issue was a resurgence of commercial messaging that distorted nutrition facts through clever marketing. TIME, 11 Apr. 2024 Snag this clever camping essential now while it’s marked down by $200 and get to planning your epic summer road trip. Olivia Young, Travel + Leisure, 9 Apr. 2024 Braid Anniversary Edition Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Android, iOS Release Date: April 30, 2024 The remastered version of the seminal indie platformer not only brings back the clever time-rewinding mechanics, but adds developer commentary. PCMAG, 6 Apr. 2024 With a clever title style playing on ‘over’ and ‘L’ for love, the drama thriller explores how and why abusive control, sometimes mistaken for love, can be the greatest danger in a relationship, and what if ‘the one’ is the one who could destroy you?’, reads the logline. Annika Pham, Variety, 6 Apr. 2024 These brief encounters are a clever jab by Libii at a visual art world historically enamored of Black figurative artists. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 29 Mar. 2024 This electric 3-row SUV with up to 300 miles of range, clever interior details and a distinct, futuristic exterior, beat out the Volvo EX30 an BYD Seal. Scotty Reiss, Forbes, 29 Mar. 2024

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 16 Apr. 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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