- 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 cleverest
She was voted “the wittiest, cleverest, and most distinctive” student in her year.Wonder Woman’s Creation Story Is Wilder Than You Could Ever Imagine
November 3, 2014
Von Holzen is the cleverest man I know, and he knows what he is doing.Roden's Corner
Henry Seton Merriman
I have told you scores of times you are the cleverest woman in the kingdom.Cleo The Magnificent
One of the cleverest stories that has been issued in many a moon.
And now in the cleverest manner he has got into an impossible place.Sophist
Samoval was a spy—the cleverest spy that we have ever had to deal with.The Snare
- 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 cleverest
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.