1. Mentally quick and original; bright.
2. Nimble with the hands or body; dexterous.
3. Exhibiting quick-wittedness:
a clever story.
4. New England Easily managed; docile:
“Oxen must be pretty clever to be bossed around the way they are”(Dialect Notes)
5. New England Affable but not especially smart.
7. Middle English cliver ; akin to East Frisian klifer, klüfer
中古英语 cliver ；类似于 东弗里斯兰语 klifer, klüfer
8. perhaps from kl?fen [to gnaw apart, work assiduously]
可能源自 kl?fen [咬开，工作勤勉的]
9. [of Low German origin] ; akin to Old Saxon klioban [to split, cleave] * see gleubh-
[源于日耳曼语] ；类似于 古撒克逊语 klioban [裂开，打通] *参见 gleubh-
10. These adjectives are compared as they refer to mental adroitness or to practical ingenuity and skill.
11. Clever, the most comprehensive, stresses mental quickness or adeptness:
“If I ever felt inclined to be timid as I was going into a room full of people, I would say to myself, ‘You're the cleverest member of one of the cleverest families in the cleverest class of the cleverest nation in the world, why should you be frightened?’” (Beatrice Webb).
12. Ingenious implies originality and inventiveness:
“an ingenious solution to the storage problem” (Linda Greider).
13. Shrewd emphasizes mental astuteness and practical understanding:
“a woman of shrewd intellect and masculine character” (Leslie Stephen).
14. In the 17th and 18th centuries, in addition to its basic sense of “able to use the brain readily and effectively,” the word clever acquired a constellation of imprecise but generally positive senses in regional British speech: “clean-limbed and handsome,” “neat and convenient to use,” and “of an agreeable disposition.” Some of these British regional senses, brought over when America was colonized, are still found in American regional speech, as in the South, where clever can mean “good-natured, amiable,” in old-fashioned speech. The speech of New England extends the meaning “good-natured” to animals in the specific sense of “easily managed, docile.” Perhaps it was the association with animals that gave rise to another meaning, “affable but not especially smart,” applicable to people when used in old-fashioned New England dialects.
在17和18世纪时，clever 一词除了其基本含义“能够轻松、有效地用脑”外，还在英国方言中具有大量不准确但明确的含义， “身材匀称且英俊倜傥”、“整洁有序且便于使用”和“令人愉快的个性”。英国方言中的一部分含义是美国被殖民统治时传播开来，在美国方言中至今仍然可见，如在南部的旧式方言中， clever 可以表示“脾气好的、和蔼的”。 新英格兰方言把“脾气好的”意思拓展到动物，表示“易于管理的、温驯的”的特定含义。可能因其与动物有关而导致另一含义“友善但不是特别机敏”的产生，适用于使用旧式新英格兰方言的人
15. Being too clever is thought to be unwise, and support for this popular notion may be afforded by the fact that the devil seems to have been the first “clever” one in English. The source of our word clever is probably the Middle English word cliver, recorded only once in a work written before 1250, in which it is said that the devil is “cliver on sinnes.” This means something like “skillful in respect to sins.” Cliver probably goes back to the Indo-European root gleubh-, “to cut, cleave.” Although the intermediate ancestry of cliver is unclear, the semantic connection has to do with penetration or incisiveness—that is, cutting through to the heart of the matter, just as a woodcarver cuts through material in order to realize a certain vision.
太聪明被认为是愚蠢的，英语中魔鬼被认为是第一“聪明的”，这一事实可能是这一普遍概念的例证。clever 的词源可能是中世纪英语单词 cliver , 仅在一本1250年以前写的著作中出现过一次，书中说魔鬼“在犯罪方面很聪明”。这个含义有些类似于“在犯罪方面很有本事。”Cliver 可以追溯到印欧词根 gleubh- “切、削”。 虽然cliver 的中介来源尚不清楚， 但语义的联系肯定与穿透力或透彻性有关--即穿透事物的本质，就象木工劈开材料以了解其内在材质