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clever

[klev-er] /ˈklɛv ər/
adjective, cleverer, cleverest.
1.
mentally bright; having sharp or quick intelligence; able.
2.
superficially skillful, witty, or original in character or construction; facile:
It was an amusing, clever play, but of no lasting value.
3.
showing inventiveness or originality; ingenious:
His clever device was the first to solve the problem.
4.
adroit with the hands or body; dexterous or nimble.
5.
Older Use.
  1. suitable; convenient; satisfactory.
  2. good-natured.
  3. handsome.
  4. in good health.
Origin
1175-1225
1175-1225; Middle English cliver, akin to Old English clifer claw, clife burdock. See cleavers
Related forms
cleverish, adjective
cleverishly, adverb
cleverly, adverb
cleverness, noun
overclever, adjective
overcleverly, adverb
overcleverness, noun
unclever, adjective
uncleverly, adverb
uncleverness, noun
Synonyms
1. ingenious, talented, quick-witted; smart, gifted; apt, expert. 4. skillful, agile, handy.
Antonyms
1. stupid. 4. clumsy.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for cleverest

clever

/ˈklɛvə/
adjective
1.
displaying sharp intelligence or mental alertness
2.
adroit or dexterous, esp with the hands
3.
smart in a superficial way
4.
(Brit, informal) sly; cunning
5.
(predicative; used with a negative) (dialect) healthy; fit
Derived Forms
cleverish, adjective
cleverly, adverb
cleverness, noun
Word Origin
C13 cliver (in the sense: quick to seize, adroit), of uncertain origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for cleverest

clever

adj.

1580s, "handy, dexterous," apparently from East Anglian dialectal cliver "expert at seizing," perhaps from East Frisian klüfer "skillful," or Norwegian dialectic klover "ready, skillful," and perhaps influenced by Old English clifer "claw, hand" (early usages seem to refer to dexterity). Or perhaps akin to Old Norse kleyfr "easy to split" and from a root related to cleave "to split." Extension to intellect is first recorded 1704.

This is a low word, scarcely ever used but in burlesque or conversation; and applied to any thing a man likes, without a settled meaning. [Johnson, 1755]
The meaning has narrowed since, but clever also often in old use and dialect meant "well-shaped, attractive-looking" and in 19c. American English sometimes "good-natured, agreeable." Related: Cleverly; cleverness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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