Definition of clever in English:

clever

Syllabification: clev·er
Pronunciation: /ˈklevər
 
/

adjective (cleverer, cleverest)

1Quick to understand, learn, and devise or apply ideas; intelligent: a clever and studious young woman how clever of him to think of this!
More example sentences
  • Jo was clever, cunning, intelligent, very quick, and could see things which other people couldn't.
  • This was an interesting idea and it was very clever of Serocath to come up with it.
  • ‘It was very clever of him to go for part-ownership of Canova's The Three Graces,’ says another critic.
Synonyms
intelligent, bright, smart, astute, sharp, quick-witted, shrewd; talented, gifted, brilliant, capable, able, competent, apt; educated, learned, knowledgeable, wise
informal brainy, clueful, savvy
1.1Skilled at doing or achieving something; talented: he was clever at getting what he wanted she is clever with her hands
More example sentences
  • You are youthful, intense and clever at work to achieve goals and success in a tough assignment.
  • There aren't many that can compete physically with big Brian Irvine but Flo is so clever with the ball at his feet that the need for a physical contest is almost non-existent.
  • Women have become incredibly clever at explaining these choices in ways that barely mention social pressures or male desires.
Synonyms
1.2Showing intelligence or skill; ingenious: a simple but clever idea for helping people learn computing
More example sentences
  • I saw nothing original or clever or ingenious about this film.
  • It was a clever and original fundraising idea that offered people a challenge.
  • We must always remember that what lures people here is the prospect of original and clever ideas.
Synonyms
ingenious, canny, cunning, crafty, artful, slick, neat
1.3 [usually with negative] dated informal Sensible; well-advised: it wasn’t too clever, leaving Dolly alone
More example sentences
  • The view expressed by Mr. Winer, and to a lesser extent Dr. Grant, is often considered very clever and sensible.
  • This is not as clever as it sounds, because Teazers stocks a comprehensive range of men's deodorants in their bathrooms.
  • Then Chicken Little crying wolf won't look like such a clever strategy, will it?

Origin

Middle English (in the sense 'quick to catch hold', only recorded in this period): perhaps of Dutch or Low German origin, and related to cleave2. In the late 16th century the term came to mean (probably through dialect use) 'manually skillful'; the sense 'possessing mental agility' dates from the early 18th century.

Phrases

too clever by half

informal Annoyingly proud of one’s intelligence or skill and in danger of overreaching oneself.
More example sentences
  • Too often the band's lush harmonies and soothing guitars are accompanied by an annoying tendency to be too clever by half.
  • The only problem with such a bright Artificial Intelligence is that it would be too clever by half.
  • But policymakers are too clever by half to grasp it.

Derivatives

cleverly

adverb
More example sentences
  • Edson's script is enormously intelligent, cleverly interweaving its diverse themes.
  • The piece is set in a school gymnasium, cleverly fashioned to achieve a certain timelessness.
  • She cleverly dodged the crowd and walked away from the stage, ignoring the requests of students.

More definitions of clever

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