\ 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


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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun No details about the satellite have been released, but the government did offer a clue about its purpose. Caroline Glenn,, "Watch it live: SpaceX to launch spy satellite from Kennedy Space Center," 19 Dec. 2020 None of them had a personal coach, or played for an expensive travel team, or had much of a clue about how to be scouted or recruited or noticed on the youth baseball circuit. Jack Harris, Los Angeles Times, "Dominic Smith’s Baseball Generations offers diamond lifeline to disadvantaged L.A. youth," 9 Dec. 2020 The industrial complex provides a clue about what lies beneath: an ancient sea of coral and marine life, petrified by time and pressure into a thick layer of rock. Bloomberg Wire, Dallas News, "Exxon Mobil shelves a carbon capture project using technology that could slow climate change," 8 Dec. 2020 Jeong guessed this actor due to his Friends character loving puppets and a clue about a vampire snake. Martha Sorren, Woman's Day, "Who Is Baby Alien On 'The Masked Singer'? He Could Be A Famous Actor," 30 Sep. 2020 In 2017, scientists at UNC-Chapel Hill provided a critical clue about the limitations of the influenza vaccine. al, "Alabama researchers: Obesity may make COVID vaccine less effective," 10 Aug. 2020 The rest of the clue package focuses on Jellyfish’s family. Ariana Brockington,, "The Masked Singer’s Jellyfish Is Either An Olympian Or Mega Hollywood Royalty," 4 Nov. 2020 Given the amount of Hamilton puns in its pre-performance clue package, most people's guesses immediately went to stars of the Broadway show. Martha Sorren, Woman's Day, "Who is the Mushroom on 'The Masked Singer'? The Contestant Gave the Judges Goosebumps," 29 Oct. 2020 However, in season four, the Crocodile's clue package may have accidentally given away his identity, according to Screen Rant. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, "Did 'The Masked Singer' Accidentally Reveal the Crocodile's Identity?," 22 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Culinary history lesson Studying this cookbook today can clue us in to how our ancestors cooked and ate, while inspiring a new generation to go back to the basics in the kitchen. Sharyn Jackson, Star Tribune, "Time travel for Christmas dinner with this 1904 Gold Medal Flour cookbook," 23 Dec. 2020 For sheer excitement, the Juilliard String Quartet and Leon Fleisher will clue you to whatever is your sound source. Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, "Please, can we all listen to some Brahms and learn to get along," 9 Dec. 2020 Endorsements show which organizations approve of a candidate, and understanding what these groups advocate for can clue you in on what a candidate supports. John Kennedy, Popular Science, "How to decide who to vote for," 22 Oct. 2020 If there is a better defense in the nation than Georgia, please clue us in. Charles Hollis, al, "Saban sidelined but Dawgs’ problem is Tide offense," 16 Oct. 2020 Friends will occasionally clue Paye in on what’s being said about him, sending articles that could easily feed his ego. Rainer Sabin, Detroit Free Press, "In an offseason full of hyperbole, one Michigan football star isn't falling prey to the hype," 8 Oct. 2020 This year, while the adoring audiences were replaced with an empty amphitheater, very little could clue viewers in to the fact that the show was produced during a pandemic. Zoe Christen Jones, CBS News, "Rihanna hopes new fashion show brings "a little bit of happiness" during pandemic," 2 Oct. 2020 Savage and his team sorted through previous research that could help clue them into the role of sleep. Corryn Wetzel, Smithsonian Magazine, "Researchers Say the Purpose of Sleep Shifts During the ‘Terrible Twos’," 18 Sep. 2020 Dear Proud Teacher: Indeed, this could be a subtle way to clue someone into a correct pronunciation. Annie Lane, oregonlive, "Dear Annie: Readers share thoughts on calling out word mispronunciations," 22 Aug. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of clue


circa 1665, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1934, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for clue


alteration of clew

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Learn More about clue

Time Traveler for clue

Time Traveler

The first known use of clue was circa 1665

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Statistics for clue

Last Updated

12 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Clue.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for clue


How to pronounce clue (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of clue

: something that helps a person find something, understand something, or solve a mystery or puzzle
informal : an understanding of something : knowledge about something


\ ˈklü How to pronounce clue (audio) \

Kids Definition of clue

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

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Comments on clue

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