- mentally bright; having sharp or quick intelligence; able.
- superficially skillful, witty, or original in character or construction; facile: It was an amusing, clever play, but of no lasting value.
- showing inventiveness or originality; ingenious: His clever device was the first to solve the problem.
- adroit with the hands or body; dexterous or nimble.
- Older Use.
Origin of clever
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for clever
Few of us are as clever as my Inspector Morse-loving friend.The Refuseniks Hiding From ‘Happy New Year’
December 31, 2014
The clever part is that the present was “re-gifted” from city and state tax revenues.Congress’ Gift That Keeps on Giving
P. J. O’Rourke
December 20, 2014
The clever crooks managed to rack up $2 million in profits over a year, Ares said.The Insane $11 Billion Scam at Retailers’ Return Desks
December 19, 2014
He wants to show her how clever he is and, more importantly, how well the script is going, that there is hope, a future.
The small band of French critics helped shift the view of Hitchcock from a clever, popular entertainer to a Significant Artist.
I wouldn't attempt to be, I am not clever or popular enough.Grace Harlowe's Return to Overton Campus
Jessie Graham Flower
All this is mere rhetoric, and full of clever self-excusing.The Man Shakespeare
He is the son of a clever doctor, and the marriage will take place in four days.The Imaginary Invalid
I hadn't supposed him clever enough to guess what I was thinking.The Bacillus of Beauty
If he were as clever as he is honest, he wouldn't have been stuck with a horse like Lauzanne.Thoroughbreds
W. A. Fraser
- displaying sharp intelligence or mental alertness
- adroit or dexterous, esp with the hands
- smart in a superficial way
- British informal sly; cunning
- (predicative; used with a negative) dialect healthy; fit
Word Origin and History for clever
1580s, "handy, dexterous," apparently from East Anglian dialectal cliver "expert at seizing," perhaps from East Frisian klüfer "skillful," or Norwegian dialectic klover "ready, skillful," and perhaps influenced by Old English clifer "claw, hand" (early usages seem to refer to dexterity). Or perhaps akin to Old Norse kleyfr "easy to split" and from a root related to cleave "to split." Extension to intellect is first recorded 1704.
This is a low word, scarcely ever used but in burlesque or conversation; and applied to any thing a man likes, without a settled meaning. [Johnson, 1755]
The meaning has narrowed since, but clever also often in old use and dialect meant "well-shaped, attractive-looking" and in 19c. American English sometimes "good-natured, agreeable." Related: Cleverly; cleverness.