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Clew (?), Clue, n. [OE. clewe, clowe, clue, AS. cleowen, cliwen, clywe ball of thread; akin to D. kluwen, OHG. chliwa, chliuwa, G. dim. kleuel, knauel, and perch. to L. gluma hull, husk, Skr. glaus sort of ball or tumor. Perch. akin to E. claw. 26. Cf. Knawel.]


A ball of thread, yarn, or cord; also, The thread itself.

Untwisting his deceitful clew. Spenser.


That which guides or directs one in anything of a doubtful or intricate nature; that which gives a hint in the solution of a mystery.

The clew, without which it was perilous to enter the vast and intricate maze of countinental politics, was in his hands. Macaulay.

3. Naut. (a.)

A lower corner of a square sail, or the after corner of a fore-and-aft sail.


A loop and thimbles at the corner of a sail.


A combination of lines or nettles by which a hammock is suspended.

Clew garnet Naut., one of the ropes by which the clews of the courses of square-rigged vessels are drawn up to the lower yards. -- Clew line Naut., a rope by which a clew of one of the smaller square sails, as topsail, topgallant sail, or royal, is run up to its yard. -- Clew-line block Naut., The block through which a clew line reeves. See Illust. of Block.

© Webster 1913.

Clue (?), n. [See Clew, n.]

A ball of thread; a thread or other means of guidance. Same as Clew.

You have wound a goodly clue. Shak.

This clue once found unravels all the rest. Pope.

Serve as clues to guide us into further knowledge. Locke.


© Webster 1913.