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 With a bit of clever monitoring, internet service providers—and from there, advertisers—can also use it to work out where your device logs on and when. David Nield, Wired, "The iOS 14 Privacy and Security Features You Should Know," 20 Sep. 2020 All of this works quite well at the Wayne Densch and plays out on a clever set, flanked by two eye-catching towers, designed by Sabrena Allen-Biron. Matthew J. Palm,, "Semi-masked and silly, ‘Spamalot’ gets the job done | Review," 19 Sep. 2020 Here, this happens in the form of clever structural additions (sliding glass doors to encourage flow) and decorative accoutrements (a combination firepit/water feature in the petite side yard). Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "Jean Liu Creates a Dream Home for a Couple That Loves Entertaining and the Outdoors," 18 Sep. 2020 Both consoles are moving to fast solid-state storage (also called simple an SSD) which will be a first for gaming consoles, dramatically limiting the need for loading screens and clever level design. Lee Neikirk, USA TODAY, "The Playstation 5 is available to pre-order now—if you hurry," 17 Sep. 2020 Porsche uses a clever mechanical linkage to repurpose its dual-clutch gearbox into this manual transmission. Eric Tingwall, Car and Driver, "Tested: 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Manual Fills a Narrow Niche," 16 Sep. 2020 The results run the gamut from clever to outlandish. Hannah Thomasy, Smithsonian Magazine, "Covid-19 Has Designers Reimagining Personal Protective Equipment," 15 Sep. 2020 All-Pro linebacker T.J. Watt made a clever interception at the New York 36. oregonlive, "Ben Roethlisberger throws three TD passes in the Pittsburgh Steelers' win over the New York Giants: Recap, score, stats and more," 15 Sep. 2020 Mildred is supposed to be, like, a sympathetic murdering traitorous dedicated dismissive repressed libertine grieving clever villain hero. Darren Franich,, "Ratched ratchets up the crazy and goes off the deep end: Review," 14 Sep. 2020

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

Time Traveler for clever

Time Traveler

The first known use of clever was circa 1595

See more words from the same year

Statistics for clever

Last Updated

23 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Clever.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for clever


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


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

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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