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Related to clew: blackboard, sis

clew 1

1. A ball of yarn or thread.
2. Greek Mythology The ball of thread used by Theseus to find his way out of the labyrinth.
3. clews The cords by which a hammock is suspended.
4. also clue Nautical
a. One of the two lower corners of a square sail.
b. The lower aft corner of a fore-and-aft sail.
tr.v. clewed, clew·ing, clews
1. To roll or coil into a ball.
2. also clue Nautical To raise the lower corners of (a square sail) by means of clew lines. Used with up.

[Middle English clewe, from Old English cliwen.]

clew 2

n. & v. Chiefly British
Variant of clue1.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. a ball of thread, yarn, or twine
2. (Nautical Terms) nautical either of the lower corners of a square sail or the after lower corner of a fore-and-aft sail
3. (Nautical Terms) (usually plural) the rigging of a hammock
4. a rare variant of clue
(tr) to coil or roll into a ball
[Old English cliewen (vb); related to Old High German kliu ball]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014



2. either lower corner of a square sail or the after lower corner of a fore-and-aft sail.
3. a ball or skein of thread, yarn, etc.
4. Usu., clews. the rigging for a hammock.
5. to coil into a ball.
[before 900; Middle English clewe, Old English cleowen, cliewen=cliew- (c. Old High German kliu ball) + -en -en5]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


 a globe, ball, or spherical bunch; a tangled cluster of things; a ball of thread, etc.
Examples: clew of bees, 1616; of cord; of thread; of yarn; of worms, 1669.
Dictionary of Collective Nouns and Group Terms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Past participle: clewed
Gerund: clewing

I clew
you clew
he/she/it clews
we clew
you clew
they clew
I clewed
you clewed
he/she/it clewed
we clewed
you clewed
they clewed
Present Continuous
I am clewing
you are clewing
he/she/it is clewing
we are clewing
you are clewing
they are clewing
Present Perfect
I have clewed
you have clewed
he/she/it has clewed
we have clewed
you have clewed
they have clewed
Past Continuous
I was clewing
you were clewing
he/she/it was clewing
we were clewing
you were clewing
they were clewing
Past Perfect
I had clewed
you had clewed
he/she/it had clewed
we had clewed
you had clewed
they had clewed
I will clew
you will clew
he/she/it will clew
we will clew
you will clew
they will clew
Future Perfect
I will have clewed
you will have clewed
he/she/it will have clewed
we will have clewed
you will have clewed
they will have clewed
Future Continuous
I will be clewing
you will be clewing
he/she/it will be clewing
we will be clewing
you will be clewing
they will be clewing
Present Perfect Continuous
I have been clewing
you have been clewing
he/she/it has been clewing
we have been clewing
you have been clewing
they have been clewing
Future Perfect Continuous
I will have been clewing
you will have been clewing
he/she/it will have been clewing
we will have been clewing
you will have been clewing
they will have been clewing
Past Perfect Continuous
I had been clewing
you had been clewing
he/she/it had been clewing
we had been clewing
you had been clewing
they had been clewing
I would clew
you would clew
he/she/it would clew
we would clew
you would clew
they would clew
Past Conditional
I would have clewed
you would have clewed
he/she/it would have clewed
we would have clewed
you would have clewed
they would have clewed
Collins English Verb Tables © HarperCollins Publishers 2011
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.clew - a ball of yarn or cord or thread
chunk, clod, glob, lump, clump, ball - a compact mass; "a ball of mud caught him on the shoulder"
2.clew - evidence that helps to solve a problem
evidence - an indication that makes something evident; "his trembling was evidence of his fear"
sign, mark - a perceptible indication of something not immediately apparent (as a visible clue that something has happened); "he showed signs of strain"; "they welcomed the signs of spring"
Verb1.clew - roll into a ball
twine, wrap, wind, roll - arrange or or coil around; "roll your hair around your finger"; "Twine the thread around the spool"; "She wrapped her arms around the child"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


(of thread)Knäuel nt
(Naut, of sail) → Schothorn nt; (of hammock)Schlaufe f
(Naut) to clew (up)aufgeien
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007
References in classic literature ?
A DETECTIVE searching for the murderer of a dead man was accosted by a Clew.
That is to say, he "found a clew." But you can't hang a "clew" for murder, and so after that detec- tive had got through and gone home, Tom felt just as insecure as he was before.
I have therefore let down a rope, by which you will be able to climb up; and as the island is so large that you might not find Hermod's dwelling-place so easily, I lay down this clew beside you.
Finding no clew to her identity either in the letter that she had tried to write or in the wild words that escaped her from time to time, it was decided to search her luggage, and to look at the clothes which she had worn when she arrived at the hotel.
The river lured him by the shortest path toward its refreshing waters, and when he had drunk, night already had fallen and he was some half mile or more down stream from the point where he had seen the pile of yellow ingots, and where he hoped to meet the memory woman, or find some clew to her whereabouts or her identity.
None of the field hands working in the field to which Williamson was going had seen him at all, and the most rigorous search of the entire plantation and adjoining country failed to supply a clew. The most monstrous and grotesque fictions, originating with the blacks, were current in that part of the State for many years, and probably are to this day; but what has been here related is all that is certainly known of the matter.
There have been no arrests; there was no clew. Some of us had 'theories.' I had one.
"Does 'Yes' mean that there is some sort of clew to the mystery?" I asked.
You will see that it affords no clew to the direction she has taken.
They had followed immediately behind him, thinking it barely possible that his actions might prove a clew to my whereabouts and had witnessed my short but decisive battle with him.
differences between the Indian and the English modes of constructing words; and, having once got a clew to this, he pursued every noun and verb he could think of through all possible variations.
I was alone again with my earthly fellow-beings--left with no clew to guide me but the remembrance of the child's hand pointing eastward to the distant sea.