- anything that serves to guide or direct in the solution of a problem, mystery, etc.
- clew(defs 1–4, 6, 12).
- to direct or point out by a clue.
- clew(def 7).
- clue in,
- to provide with useful or reliable information: Clue us in on how these forms are to be filled out.
- to make familiar or aware: Has she been clued in about the rules of this office?
Origin of clue
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for clue
A cynic might say that the report is like the movie Clue, perfectly set up for a multiplicity of endings.New York’s Conservative Fracking Ban
December 20, 2014
The worship that holds you for a few hours a week becomes, then, the clue to that deep truth inside.Joseph Campbell on the Roots of Halloween
October 31, 2014
Martin was up on some of the more difficult passages, but managed to guess the wrong character from the clue of “Hodor!”Amy Poehler and George R.R. Martin Play Game of ‘Game of Thrones’
October 29, 2014
But, honestly, no black person has any clue what white people eat.‘Dear White People’ Is the Race Movie America Didn’t Know It Needed
October 17, 2014
Dusty books, smoking pipes, tarot cards, and a Ouija board fill the antique furniture positioning any object as a clue.Escape the Room—New York's Hottest Game
September 15, 2014
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.Explorations in Australia
I think I have a clue by which his address may be ascertained.Life in London
Perhaps, in that characteristic might be found a clue to the chief fault in his nature.Within the Law
Nobody ever got any clue to the reason, if there was one, for this predilection of hers.Camps, Quarters and Casual Places
- something that helps to solve a problem or unravel a mystery
- not to have a clue
- to be completely baffled
- to be completely ignorant or incompetent
- (tr; usually foll by in or up) to provide with helpful information
- a variant spelling of clew
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.