- 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 for on Thesaurus.com
Related Wordsintelligently, shrewdly, wittily, ably, handily, neatly, smoothly, nimbly, skillfully, deftly, expertly, ingeniously, adroitly, aptly, astutely, sensibly, quickly, readily, agilely, cunningly
Examples from the Web for cleverly
Hooters is cleverly asking me to “Give a Hoot” about breast cancer.The Misogynistic Companies Jumping On The Breast Cancer Bandwagon
October 16, 2014
Eschliman also cleverly referred to non-heterosexuals as "the LGBTQXYZ crowd."Fringe Factor: 'Gaystapo' Claims Its Latest 'Victim'
July 26, 2014
Aronofsky's extrapolations are cleverly calibrated to "answer" all the questions left unanswered in the original story.‘Noah’ Review: An Ambitious, Flawed Biblical Tale That You Have to See
March 28, 2014
He cleverly defended fundraising efforts on behalf of the Greek military in Britain as a matter of free enterprise.Poet and Rake, Lord Byron Was Also an Interventionist With Brains and Savvy
February 16, 2014
When Soviet dissidents came to the West, they cleverly defied their old masters.The Mystery of Mikhail Khodorkovsky
January 2, 2014
She had a wicked delight in the defeat of his strategy which she could cleverly conceal.
He had been cleverly exploited, but he could not see that any great harm had been done.
He was cleverly caught, though, before he could make any use of what he had stolen.A Woman Intervenes
At these words, which she had so cleverly provoked, Felicite released her husband's arms.The Fortune of the Rougons
She had disguised herself so cleverly that it was difficult to recognise her.An Orkney Maid
Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr
- 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 cleverly
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.