Nautical. either lower corner of a square sail or the after lower corner of a fore-and-aft sail.
a ball or skein of thread, yarn, etc.
Usually clews. the rigging for a hammock.
Theater. a metal device holding scenery lines controlled by one weighted line.
Classical Mythology. the thread by which Theseus found his way out of the labyrinth.
to coil into a ball.
to draw up the bottom edge of (a curtain, drop, etc.) and fold out of view; bag.
to secure (lines) with a clew.
clew down, Nautical. to secure (a sail) in an unfurled position.
clew up, Nautical. to haul (the lower corners of a square-rig sail) up to the yard by means of the clew lines.
Idioms about clew
spread a large clew, Nautical.
to carry a large amount of sail.
to present an impressive appearance.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use clew in a sentence
But if the comrades preserve silence, all will be well, for I was careful to leave no clew.Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist | Alexander Berkman
It is not a common one, and if given to the papers, may result in our receiving a clew to a mystery which seems impenetrable.The Circular Study | Anna Katharine Green
He did not see him, yet another man gave him the clew and unwittingly directed him to the house of Citizen Fargeau.The Light That Lures | Percy Brebner
Mr. Nepean, I think, has indeed opened himself at last, and given a pretty plain clew to their disposition not to support you.History of Prince Edward Island | Duncan Campbell
The label on a trade package of Hydronaphthol gives no clew as to the nature of the product.
British Dictionary definitions for clew
a ball of thread, yarn, or twine
nautical either of the lower corners of a square sail or the after lower corner of a fore-and-aft sail
(usually plural) the rigging of a hammock
a rare variant of clue
(tr) to coil or roll into a ball
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