adjective, clev·er·er, clev·er·est.
Origin of clever
Examples from the Web for cleverness
So he runs off for freedom and is done in by his own cleverness.The Shocking ‘Fargo’ Finale: Creator Noah Hawley Breaks Down the Epic Bloodbath|Kevin Fallon|June 18, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The more important smell test is one of tone: that cocktail of cleverness, warmth, and mania that marked the Henson years.Bad Jokes and Silent Kids: How You Know Something Is Very Wrong With Muppets Most Wanted|Brandy Zadrozny|March 28, 2014|DAILY BEAST
My “clever” idea left without the need for cleverness in the writing; I even included a reunion ending.
The story is a classic of doggedness, cleverness, and a little luck.
You know, his cleverness makes capital markets more efficient.
But the trouble is we trust our cleverness so much that we get cheated that way.Look Back on Happiness|Knut Hamsun
Your cleverness has misled you and has hitherto done you far more evil than good.Bunyan Characters|Alexander Whyte
You with all your energy and cleverness and general sanity, and he so widely sympathetic that he is a bit impersonal.The Dull Miss Archinard|Anne Douglas Sedgwick
It is a matter of common information that James prided himself on his cleverness.A History of Witchcraft in England from 1558 to 1718|Wallace Notestein
His yellow, mobile features were certainly full of cleverness and sarcasm.A Sportsman's Sketches|Ivan Turgenev
British Dictionary definitions for cleverness
Word Origin for clever
Word Origin and History for cleverness
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.