Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1500-1600
Origin: clew 'ball of string' (11-19 centuries), from Old English cliewen; from the use of a ball of string for finding the way out of a network of passages

clue

1 noun
     
clue1 S2 [countable]
1 an object or piece of information that helps someone solve a crime or mystery:
Police have found a vital clue.
clue to/about/as to
We now have an important clue as to the time of the murder.
Archaeological evidence will provide clues about what the building was used for.
clue in
This information is a valuable clue in our hunt for the bombers.
2 information that helps you understand the reasons why something happens
clue to/about/as to
Childhood experiences may provide a clue as to why some adults develop eating disorders.
3 a piece of information that helps you solve a crossword puzzle, answer a question etc:
I'll give you a clue, Kevin, it's a kind of bird.
4

not have a clue (where/why/how etc)

informal
a) to not have any idea about the answer to a question, how to do something, what a situation is etc:
'Do you know how to switch this thing off?' 'I haven't a clue.'
Until I arrived here, I hadn't got a clue what I was going to say to her.
b) to be very stupid, or very bad at a particular activity:
Don't let Mike cook you dinner; he hasn't got a clue.
I haven't a clue how to talk to girls.
not have a clue (where/why/how etc) about
No point asking Jill - she hasn't got a clue about maths.

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