• synonyms


See more synonyms for clue on Thesaurus.com
  1. anything that serves to guide or direct in the solution of a problem, mystery, etc.
  2. clew(defs 1–4, 6, 12).
Show More
verb (used with object), clued, clu·ing.
  1. to direct or point out by a clue.
  2. clew(def 7).
Show More
Verb Phrases
  1. clue in,
    1. to provide with useful or reliable information: Clue us in on how these forms are to be filled out.
    2. to make familiar or aware: Has she been clued in about the rules of this office?
Show More

Origin of clue

variant spelling of clew


See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for clue

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Here, perchance, may be found a clue in symbol to the family strife.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • His last letter gives no clue to the track he intended to pursue.

  • I think I have a clue by which his address may be ascertained.

    Life in London

    Edwin Hodder

  • Perhaps, in that characteristic might be found a clue to the chief fault in his nature.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • Nobody ever got any clue to the reason, if there was one, for this predilection of hers.

British Dictionary definitions for clue


  1. something that helps to solve a problem or unravel a mystery
  2. not to have a clue
    1. to be completely baffled
    2. to be completely ignorant or incompetent
Show More
verb clues, cluing or clued
  1. (tr; usually foll by in or up) to provide with helpful information
Show More
noun, verb
  1. a variant spelling of clew
Show More

Word Origin

C15: variant of clew
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 clue


1590s, spelling variant of clew "a ball of thread or yarn," in this sense with reference to the one Theseus used as a guide out of the Labyrinth. The purely figurative sense of "that which points the way" is from 1620s. As something which a bewildered person does not have, by 1948.

Show More


"to inform someone of the important facts," usually with in, 1934, from clue (n.). Related: Clued; cluing. Earlier in now-obsolete sense of "follow or track by clues" (1660s). In nautical use, "to haul up (a sail) by means of the clue-lines," from clue (n.) in the "wound ball of yarn" sense.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper