clue

[kloo]
||

noun

anything that serves to guide or direct in the solution of a problem, mystery, etc.

verb (used with object), clued, clu·ing.

to direct or point out by a clue.

Verb Phrases

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?

Origin of clue

variant spelling of clew

Synonyms for clue

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for clue

Contemporary Examples of clue

Historical Examples of clue

  • These last furnished the clue to the behaviour of the crows.

    Birds of the Plains

    Douglas Dewar

  • After a frantic effort, I caught two words—‘Land,’ ‘America’—with positively no clue to their meaning.

    True Ghost Stories

    Hereward Carrington

  • Not until after the ceremony did I find the clue to the riddle.

  • Would he think me very deceitful, I wondered, for giving Max that clue?

    Uncle Max

    Rosa Nouchette Carey

  • The colors thus frequently give a clue to the age of pieces.

    The Ceramic Art

    Jennie J. Young



British Dictionary definitions for clue

clue

noun

something that helps to solve a problem or unravel a mystery
not to have a clue
  1. to be completely baffled
  2. to be completely ignorant or incompetent

verb clues, cluing or clued

(tr; usually foll by in or up) to provide with helpful information

noun, verb

a variant spelling of clew

Word Origin for clue

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
n.

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.

v.

"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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper