clever

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clev·er / ˈklevər/ • adj. (clev·er·er , clev·er·est ) quick to understand, learn, and devise or apply ideas; intelligent. ∎  skilled at doing or achieving something; talented: she is clever with her hands. ∎  (of a thing, action, or idea) showing intelligence or skill; ingenious. ∎  superficially ingenious or witty: a story too clever to be real. ∎ dated inf. sensible; well-advised: it wasn't too clever, leaving Dolly alone. DERIVATIVES: clev·er·ly adv. clev·er·ness n. 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 cent. the term came to mean (probably through dialect use) ‘manually skillful’; the sense ‘possessing mental agility’ dates from the early 18th cent.

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clevercadaver, slaver •halva, salver, salvor •balaclava, Bratislava, carver, cassava, Costa Brava, guava, Java, kava, larva, lava, palaver •woodcarver •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 •delver, elver •Denver •Ava, caver, craver, deva, engraver, enslaver, favour (US favor), flavour (US flavor), graver, haver, laver, paver, quaver, raver, saver, savour (US savor), shaver, vena cava, waiver, waver •lifesaver • semiquaver •achiever, beaver, believer, cleaver, deceiver, diva, Eva, fever, Geneva, griever, heaver, leaver, lever, Neva, perceiver, receiver, reiver, reliever, retriever, Shiva, underachiever, viva, weaver, weever •cantilever

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clever adroit, dexterous (XIII?) XVI; (dial.) nimble, active; lithe, handsome XVII; (dial.) convenient, agreeable, nice XVIII. The context of the earliest ex. (in the form cliuer) suggests etym. connection with †cliver claw, as if ‘sharp to seize’; rare Sc. cleverous apt to seize, similarly assoc. with cluik claw, precedes the earliest ex. of clever in the mod. period. Cf. LG. klöver, klever, MDu. klever sprightly, smart.