See more synonyms for clue on
verb (used with object), clued, clu·ing.
  1. to direct or point out by a clue.
  2. clew(def 7).
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?

Origin of clue

variant spelling of clew

Synonyms for clue

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

British Dictionary definitions for clue in


  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
verb clues, cluing or clued
  1. (tr; usually foll by in or up) to provide with helpful information
noun, verb
  1. 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 in



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.



"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

Idioms and Phrases with clue in

clue in

Also, clue up. Give someone guiding information, as in It's time someone clued us in on what's happening, or I hope they clue us up soon. This expression, which uses the verb clue in the sense of “inform,” is sometimes put simply as clue (as in I'll clue you—this isn't going to work). [Colloquial; mid-1900s] Also see not have a clue.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.