- anything that serves to guide or direct in the solution of a problem, mystery, etc.
- clew(defs 1–4, 6, 12).
- to direct or point out by a clue.
- clew(def 7).
- clue in,
- to provide with useful or reliable information: Clue us in on how these forms are to be filled out.
- to make familiar or aware: Has she been clued in about the rules of this office?
Origin of clue
SynonymsSee more synonyms for clue on Thesaurus.com
- something that helps to solve a problem or unravel a mystery
- not to have a clue
- to be completely baffled
- to be completely ignorant or incompetent
- (tr; usually foll by in or up) to provide with helpful information
- a variant spelling of clew
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.
Idioms and Phrases with 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.