Definition of clever in English:


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.
    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.
  • 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.
    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?


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.



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.


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.

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Pronunciation: məˈlôrd
used to address an English nobleman