clew

[kloo]
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noun

verb (used with object)

Verb Phrases

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

    spread a large clew, Nautical.
    1. to carry a large amount of sail.
    2. to present an impressive appearance.

Origin of clew

before 900; Middle English clewe, Old English cleowen, cliewen, equivalent to cliew- (cognate with Old High German kliu ball) + -en -en5; akin to Dutch kluwen
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for clew up

clew up

verb

(adverb) nautical to furl (a square sail) by gathering its clews up to the yard by means of clew lines

clew

noun

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

verb

(tr) to coil or roll into a ball

Word Origin for clew

Old English cliewen (vb); related to Old High German kliu 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

Word Origin and History for clew up

clew

n.

"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).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper