clew down

clew

[kloo]
noun
1.
clue ( def 1 ).
2.
Nautical. either lower corner of a square sail or the after lower corner of a fore-and-aft sail. See diag. under sail.
3.
a ball or skein of thread, yarn, etc.
4.
Usually, clews. the rigging for a hammock.
5.
Theater. a metal device holding scenery lines controlled by one weighted line.
6.
Classical Mythology. the thread by which Theseus found his way out of the labyrinth.
verb (used with object)
7.
to coil into a ball.
8.
clue ( def 3 ).
9.
Theater.
a.
to draw up the bottom edge of (a curtain, drop, etc.) and fold out of view; bag.
b.
to secure (lines) with a clew.
Verb phrases
10.
clew down, Nautical. to secure (a sail) in an unfurled position.
11.
clew up, Nautical. to haul (the lower corners of a square-rig sail) up to the yard by means of the clew lines.
Idioms
12.
spread a large clew, Nautical.
a.
to carry a large amount of sail.
b.
to present an impressive appearance.

Origin:
before 900; Middle English clewe, Old English cleowen, cliewen, equivalent to cliew- (cognate with Old High German kliu ball) + -en -en5; akin to Dutch kluwen

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
clew (kluː)
 
n
1.  a ball of thread, yarn, or twine
2.  nautical either of the lower corners of a square sail or the after lower corner of a fore-and-aft sail
3.  (usually plural) the rigging of a hammock
4.  a rare variant of clue
 
vb
5.  (tr) to coil or roll into a ball
 
[Old English cliewen (vb); related to Old High German kliu ball]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

clew
"ball of thread or yarn," northern Eng. and Scot. relic of O.E. cleowen, probably from W.Gmc. *kleuwin, from P.Gmc. *kliwjo-, from I.E. *gleu- "gather into a mass, conglomerate" (related to clay).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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