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.