Definition of clever in English:

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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.
skillful, dexterous, adroit, adept, deft, nimble, handy;
skilled, talented, gifted
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.
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.


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.

Words that rhyme with clever

endeavour (US endeavor), ever, forever, however, howsoever, never, never-never, sever, Trevor, whatever, whatsoever, whenever, whensoever, wheresoever, wherever, whichever, whichsoever, whoever, whomever, whomsoever, whosoever

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: clev·er

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