- clue(def 1).
- 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.
- clue(def 3).
- 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.
- spread a large clew, Nautical.
- to carry a large amount of sail.
- to present an impressive appearance.
Origin of clew
Examples from the Web for clew
I asked, astonished at Jim's behavior, and anxious for some clew by which to solve its mystery.The Underdog
F. Hopkinson Smith
His behavior gave me no clew as to whether it had been a joyful or a sorrowful one.The First Violin
It would be idle to travel on until this clew had been cleared up.The Shadow of a Crime
Now, it was clear to him Miss Kellett had a secret; or, at least, had the clew to one.Davenport Dunn, Volume 2 (of 2)
Charles James Lever
You are certainly not bent on giving me any clew to your motives, Fagan.Sir Jasper Carew
Charles James Lever
- 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
Word Origin and History for clew
"ball of thread or yarn," northern English and Scottish relic of Old English cliewen "sphere, ball, skein, ball of thread or yarn," probably from West Germanic *kleuwin (cf. Old Saxon cleuwin, Dutch kluwen), from Proto-Germanic *kliwjo-, from PIE *gleu- "gather into a mass, conglomerate" (see clay).