- 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: Middle English cliver, probably ; from East Frisian klüfer or Norwegian dial klver, ready, skillful; uncertain or unknown; perhaps influenced, influence by Old English clifer, claw, hand, inch(es) the sense, “adroit with the hand”: for the latter sense development, see adroit, dexterous
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
adjective clev·er·er, clev·er·est
- Mentally quick and original; bright.
- Nimble with the hands or body; dexterous.
- Exhibiting quick-wittedness: a clever story.
- New England Easily managed; docile: “Oxen must be pretty clever to be bossed around the way they are” (Dialect Notes).
- New England Affable but not especially smart.
- Chiefly Southern U.S. Good-natured; amiable. See Regional Note at ugly.
Origin: Middle English cliver; akin to East Frisian klifer, klüfer; see gleubh- in Indo-European roots.
- clevˈer·ly adverb
- clevˈer·ness noun