1

clue

play
noun \ˈklü\

Definition of clue

  1. 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. 2 :  idea, notion <had no clue what he meant>

Examples of clue in a sentence

  1. The book gives the reader plenty of clues to solve the mystery.

  2. Science gives us clues about the origin of the universe.

  3. Guess who I met today. Can you give me a clue?

  4. It gives a clue as to how to proceed.

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.

Origin and Etymology of clue

alteration of clew


First Known Use: 1596


2

clue

verb

Definition of clue

clued

clueing

or

cluing

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to provide with a clue

  3. 2 :  to give reliable information to <he clued me in on how it happened>

1934

First Known Use of clue

1934



CLUE Defined for English Language Learners

1

clue

play
noun \ˈklü\

Definition of clue for English Language Learners

  • : something that helps a person find something, understand something, or solve a mystery or puzzle

  • : an understanding of something : knowledge about something


CLUE Defined for Kids

clue

play
noun \ˈklü\

Definition of clue for Students

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

History for clue

The word clue was originally an alternate spelling of clew, meaning “a ball of thread or yarn.” Our usual modern sense of clue, “something that helps solve a mystery,” grows out of the image of a ball of thread that helps a person to find a way out of a maze. Of stories containing this image, the best known is the Greek myth of Theseus and Ariadne. Ariadne gave the hero Theseus a ball of thread that he unraveled as he searched the labyrinth, or huge maze, of her father, King Minos. After killing the monster in the labyrinth, Theseus retraced his steps by rewinding the thread.



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