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Variant of clew (a ball of thread or yarn), from Middle English clewe, from Old English clēowen, clīewen (sphere, ball, skein; ball of thread or yarn; mass, group), 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)

  1. (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.
  2. Information which may lead one to a certain point or conclusion.
  3. An object or a kind of indication which may be used as evidence.
  4. (slang) Insight or understanding ("to have a clue [about]" or "to have clue". See have a clue, clue stick)


Derived termsEdit


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.

See alsoEdit


clue (third-person singular simple present clues, present participle cluing or clueing, simple past and past participle clued)

  1. To provide with a clue.
    The crossword compiler wasn't sure how to clue the word "should".
  2. 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.

Derived termsEdit




Middle EnglishEdit



  1. Alternative form of clewe