clue

noun
\ ˈklü How to pronounce clue (audio) \

Definition of clue

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something that guides through an intricate procedure or maze of difficulties specifically : a piece of evidence that leads one toward the solution of a problem
2 : idea, notion had no clue what he meant

clue

verb
clued; clueing or cluing

Definition of clue (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to provide with a clue
2 : to give reliable information to he clued me in on how it happened

Did you know?

The word clue was originally a variant spelling of clew, meaning “ball of thread or yarn.” Our modern sense of clue, “guide to the solution of a mystery,” grows out of a motif in myth and folklore, the ball of thread that helps in finding one’s way out of a maze. Of these stories the best known is the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. In the myth, Theseus unravels a ball of thread as he searches for the monstrous Minotaur in the Labyrinth. After killing the Minotaur, he retraces his steps out of the maze by rewinding the thread.

Examples of clue in a Sentence

Noun The book gives the reader plenty of clues to solve the mystery. Science gives us clues about the origin of the universe. “Guess who I met today.” “Can you give me a clue?” It gives a clue as to how to proceed.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun No clue if true/not true though Dr. Kissinger’s comments in yesterday’s note reflect China’s significant economic ties to the West. Brendan Ahern, Forbes, 19 May 2022 The same episode gave us another important clue: Marc Spector’s passport. Chris Smith, BGR, 12 May 2022 The yellow leaves might be another clue, or just problems from the winter weather. oregonlive, 24 Apr. 2022 And the only clue to what’s inside requires some basic Spanish. Lane Sainty, The Arizona Republic, 20 Apr. 2022 Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Do a great job (5 letters). New York Times, 19 Apr. 2022 How about a clue to what this secret IT code means? Kim Komando, USA TODAY, 14 Apr. 2022 The first clue that Linoleum is not a typical midlife crisis drama arrives in the form of a cherry-red convertible. Angie Han, The Hollywood Reporter, 14 Mar. 2022 Interrupting the rectangular mass are tall windows that offer no clue to what’s inside. oregonlive, 8 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Though both Kidd and Huffaker agree there’s nothing to be gained from banning books, the process and dialogue of challenges allows librarians to connect more with patrons, and clue them into what goes into selecting books. Palak Jayswal, The Salt Lake Tribune, 28 Feb. 2022 Stan is eager to learn their secrets, which reside in a book of spoken cues that clue a mentalist into what objects audience members are holding, what is engraved on them or other details. Bill Goodykoontz, Detroit Free Press, 18 Dec. 2021 Stan is eager to learn their secrets, which reside in a book of spoken cues that clue a mentalist into what objects audience members are holding, what is engraved on them or other details. Bill Goodykoontz, Detroit Free Press, 18 Dec. 2021 As a result, today anyone can buy a tool that will plug into a car’s port, accessing diagnostic codes that clue them in to what’s wrong. Aarian Marshall, Wired, 3 Feb. 2022 Airborne eDNA could also clue scientists into the presence or spread of an invasive species. Corryn Wetzel, Smithsonian Magazine, 6 Jan. 2022 If the title didn’t clue you in, Mia Hansen-Love’s latest film is a love letter to movies and moviemakers. Jennifer M. Wood, Wired, 4 Jan. 2022 Stan is eager to learn their secrets, which reside in a book of spoken cues that clue a mentalist into what objects audience members are holding, what is engraved on them or other details. Bill Goodykoontz, Detroit Free Press, 18 Dec. 2021 Stan is eager to learn their secrets, which reside in a book of spoken cues that clue a mentalist into what objects audience members are holding, what is engraved on them or other details. Bill Goodykoontz, Detroit Free Press, 18 Dec. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'clue.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of clue

Noun

circa 1665, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1934, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for clue

Noun

alteration of clew

Learn More About clue

Dictionary Entries Near clue

cluck

clue

clued up

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for clue

Last Updated

24 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Clue.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/clue. Accessed 29 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for clue

clue

noun
\ ˈklü How to pronounce clue (audio) \

Kids Definition of clue

: something that helps a person to find something or to solve a mystery

More from Merriam-Webster on clue

Nglish: Translation of clue for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of clue for Arabic Speakers

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