Clever may seem like a compliment, but this adjective boasts a rather broad range of meanings—from "intelligent" and "imaginative" to "calculating" or "contrived."

The roots of the word clever, are unknown. It was in use colloquially long before it entered the literary record, and this may be a factor in the word's enduring suppleness. The earliest written examples of clever convey the idea of dexterity — that is, the term was used to describe someone who was good with his hands. Now, clever still means "agile" or "adroit," but it refers to mental, rather than physical, skill. Clever can also be used to describe the products of a nimble mind, such as a "clever scheme" or a "clever device."

Definitions of clever
  1. adjective
    mentally quick and resourceful
    “"you are a clever reason well and your wit is bold"-Bram Stoker”
    synonyms: apt
    having the capacity for thought and reason especially to a high degree
  2. adjective
    showing inventiveness and skill
    “a clever gadget”
    synonyms: cunning, ingenious
    quick or skillful or adept in action or thought
  3. adjective
    showing self-interest and shrewdness in dealing with others
    “too clever to be sound”
    synonyms: cagey, cagy, canny
    showing mental alertness and calculation and resourcefulness
Word Family
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