clew

noun
\ ˈklü How to pronounce clew (audio) \

Definition of clew

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a ball of thread, yarn, or cord
3a : a lower corner or only the after corner of a sail
b : a metal loop attached to the lower corner of a sail
c clews plural : a combination of lines by which a hammock is suspended

clew

verb
clewed; clewing; clews

Definition of clew (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to roll into a ball
2 : clue
3 : to haul (a sail) up or down by ropes through the clews

Did you know?

The "ball of thread" meaning of clew (from Middle English clewe and ultimately from Old English cliewen) has been with us since before the 12th century. In Greek mythology, Ariadne gave a ball of thread to Theseus so that he could use it to find his way out of her father's labyrinth. This, and similar tales, gave rise to the use of clew for anything that could guide a person through a difficult place. This use led, in turn, to the meaning "a piece of evidence that leads one toward the solution of a problem." Today, the variant spelling clue, which appeared in the 17th century, is the more common spelling for the "evidence" sense, but you'll find clew in some famous works of literature. Also, clew is the only choice for the sailing senses.

First Known Use of clew

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for clew

Noun

Middle English clewe, from Old English cliewen; akin to Old High German kliuwa ball, Sanskrit glauḥ lump

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The first known use of clew was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near clew

clevy

clew

clew garnet

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Cite this Entry

“Clew.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/clew. Accessed 10 Aug. 2022.

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Nglish: Translation of clew for Spanish Speakers

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