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[kloo] /klu/
anything that serves to guide or direct in the solution of a problem, mystery, etc.
clew (defs 1–4, 6, 12).
verb (used with object), clued, cluing.
to direct or point out by a clue.
clew (def 7).
Verb phrases
clue in,
  1. to provide with useful or reliable information:
    Clue us in on how these forms are to be filled out.
  2. to make familiar or aware:
    Has she been clued in about the rules of this office?
Origin of clue
variant spelling of clew
1. sign, hint, trace, evidence, mark, key. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for clue
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Here, perchance, may be found a clue in symbol to the family strife.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • His last letter gives no clue to the track he intended to pursue.

  • I think I have a clue by which his address may be ascertained.

    Life in London Edwin Hodder
  • Perhaps, in that characteristic might be found a clue to the chief fault in his nature.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • Nobody ever got any clue to the reason, if there was one, for this predilection of hers.

British Dictionary definitions for clue


something that helps to solve a problem or unravel a mystery
not to have a clue
  1. to be completely baffled
  2. to be completely ignorant or incompetent
verb clues, cluing, clued
(transitive; usually foll by in or up) to provide with helpful information
noun, verb
a variant spelling of clew
Word Origin
C15: variant of clew
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for clue

1590s, spelling variant of clew "a ball of thread or yarn," in this sense with reference to the one Theseus used as a guide out of the Labyrinth. The purely figurative sense of "that which points the way" is from 1620s. As something which a bewildered person does not have, by 1948.


"to inform someone of the important facts," usually with in, 1934, from clue (n.). Related: Clued; cluing. Earlier in now-obsolete sense of "follow or track by clues" (1660s). In nautical use, "to haul up (a sail) by means of the clue-lines," from clue (n.) in the "wound ball of yarn" sense.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for clue


v,v phr

(also clue in) To inform someone of pertinent facts; PUT someone IN THE PICTURE: I'll clue ya/ Neil Sheehan and I were terribly clued-in. We had a lock on that story (1940s+)

Related Terms

get a clue, have a clue, not have a clue

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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