- The definition of clever is being smart or having the skills to do something well.
- An example of clever is a builder who can construct a deck around any tree.
- An example of clever is a magazine that speaks intelligently about politics and pop culture.
- skillful in doing something; adroit; dexterous
- quick in thinking or learning; intelligent, ingenious, quick-witted, witty, facile, etc.
- showing ingenuity or quick, sometimes superficial, intelligence: a clever book
- amiable; good-natured
- handsome, convenient, nice, etc.
Origin of cleverMiddle English cliver, probably ; from East Frisian klüfer or Norwegian dial klöver, ready, skillful; uncertain or unknown; perhaps influenced, influence by Old English clifer, claw, hand, in the sense, “adroit with the hand”: for the latter sense development, see adroit, dexterous
- a. Mentally quick and original; bright: a clever student.b. Skilled at accomplishing things, especially with the hands: a clever carpenter.c. Crafty; cunning: “a hard-working kid who rose from poverty, only to be duped by rich, clever bankers” (Jeff Goodell).
- a. Exhibiting ingenuity or imagination; creative or artful: a clever experiment.b. Witty; amusing: an evening of clever repartee.c. Characterized by cunning or shrewdness: clever manipulation of public opinion.
- New England Easily managed; docile: “Oxen must be pretty clever to be bossed around the way they are” (Dialect Notes).
- Chiefly Southern US Good-natured; amiable.
Origin of cleverMiddle English cliver; akin to East Frisian klifer, kl&udie;fer; see gleubh- in Indo-European roots.
(comparative cleverer or more clever, superlative cleverest or most clever)
- Nimble with hands or body; skillful; adept.
- Resourceful, sometimes to the point of cunning.
- clever like a fox
- Smart, intelligent, or witty; mentally quick or sharp.
- Showing inventiveness or originality; witty.
- (anthropology, of an Aboriginal Australian) Possessing magical abilities.
- (US, dated) good-natured; obliging
From East Anglian dialectal English cliver (“expert at seizing”), from Middle English cliver (“tenacious”), perhaps from Old English *clifer, clibbor (“clinging”), or perhaps from East Frisian (compare Saterland Frisian kluftich), or dialectal Norwegian klover (“ready, skillful”); possibly influenced by Old English clifer (“claw, hand”). Related to cleave.