Variant of clew (“a ball of thread or yarn”), from Middle English clewe, from Old English clīewen (“ball”), from Proto-Germanic *kliuwīną, *klewô (“ball, bale”), from Proto-Indo-European *glew- (“to amass, conglomerate; clump, ball, bale”). Sense evolution with reference to the one which the mythical Theseus used to guide him out of the Minotaur's labyrinth. More at clew.
clue (plural clues)
- (now rare) A strand of yarn etc. as used to guide one through a labyrinth; something which points the way, a guide.
- 1897, Henry James, What Maisie Knew:
- she had even had in the past a small smug conviction that in the domestic labyrinth she always kept the clue.
- Information which may lead one to a certain point or conclusion.
- Give me a clue because the question is too vague.
- An object or a kind of indication which may be used as evidence.
- The decetives were looking for some clues at the scene of the crime.
- Insight or understanding ("to have a clue [about]" or "to have clue". See have a clue, clue stick)
- I had little clue that I was being carefully monitored by the CCTV.
- (information which may lead one to a certain point or conclusion): hint, indication, suggestion
- (object or indication which may be used as evidence): signature
- (understanding): idea
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
- To provide with a clue.
- The crossword compiler wasn't sure how to clue the word "should".
- To provide someone with information which he or she lacks (often used with "in" or "up").
- Smith, clue Jones in on what's been happening.
- You need to clue me what to do, I have no idea.
- Alternative form of