Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 1952 (SND Vol. III). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

CLEVER, CLIVER, Clivver, Cluvver, adj. Sc. meanings and forms of Eng. clever. [′klɛvər, ′klɪvər, ′klʌvər]

Sc. forms:Sc. 1993 Kathleen Jamie in Joy Hendry Chapman 74-5 79:
Stick in
with the homework and you'll be
cliver like yer faither.
but no too cliver,
no above yersel.
Sc. 1997 Scotsman 26 Sep 21:
We had tae look after Tonald; the laddie was a wee bit blate and the sheepies were awfy clivver in thae days.
ne.Sc. 2003 Press and Journal 24 Nov 12:
A clivver meeve, I suppose, bit I dinna ken fit the viewers wid o made o the seat alang side me wi the brass plate: Presented bi the Townswomen's Guild of Aberdeen.

Sc. usages:

1. Swift, quick, speedy (Cai.7, Abd.2, Slg.3, Kcb.9 1937). Used adverbially in fourth quot.Mry.(D) 1894 J. Slater Seaside Idylls (1898) 82:
We're juist as anxious tae get deen as ye are, an' we're as cliver's we can.
Arg.1 1936:
Often used to youngsters when sent on an errand: “Noo, be cluvver an' no waste time on the rod.”
Rnf. 1788 E. Picken Poems 42:
Whan I [a rat] gat clear o't, by my fegs, I made twa pair o' cliver legs.
Lnk. 1881 A. Wardrop J. Mathison's Courtship, etc. 90:
I'll cross the parks, I ken the airt, You'll find that I'll be there fu' clever.

Hence cleverly, adv., quickly, readily; cleverness, speed, alacrity.Sc. 1824 J. E. Shortreed in Cornhill Mag. (Sept. 1932) 272–273:
I pointed to where Jamie stude, but he coudna take him up cleverly for the throng.
s.Sc. 1839 Wilson's Tales of the Borders IV. 170:
Lest ony hasty-minded, sanguine individual, should suppose that that cleverness, or nimbleness, had ony connection with the alacrity of joy.

2. “In good health” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.), still so used (Bwk. 1950). Also in Eng. dial. (E.D.D.).

3. Handsome, well-made, fine-looking (Cai.7 1937). Also found in Eng. dial.Sc. 1869 R. Chambers Hist. Rebellion 44, Note:
I was detached to Ardnamurchan to recruit, and soon returned with fifty clever fellows.
Edb. 1821 W. Liddle Poems 39:
Lookin' out for dunty clever, Just as brisk an' keen as ever.
Uls. 1901 J. W. Byers in North. Whig:
A fine-looking, tall man is “clever.”

4. Generous, liberal, ample.Uls. 1901 J. W. Byers in North. Whig:
If you ask a man you meet on the road the distance to some town, he will say, “four miles, cliver, or lucky” — that is, the distance is more than the miles named.
Uls. c.1920 J. Logan Ulster in the X-Rays (2nd ed.) vi.:
A man may be described as “clever” with his money, or even a coat may be “clever,” meaning it has been cut “big and full.”

5. “Eloquent, fluent of speech” (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.); garrulous. Not known to our correspondents.Edb. 1870 J. Lauder Warblings 57:
For the smith is clever, And they like his haver, And there's nane wad dae him ill.

6. Good (of persons and things) (Cai.7, Fif.10, Lnl.1, Kcb.9 1937).Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 15:
I did thon at schule an Miss McTavish wis in a fine rage an said, "Bobby Ross, You stop thon! It's nae clivver tae makk a feel a big leddies."
Edb. 1894 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick xiii.:
There were three fields o't, weel fenced an' drained, lyin bonny to the sun, an' clever land.
Kcb. 1895 S. R. Crockett Bog-Myrtle and Peat Tales 40:
Lie doon on yer bed like a clever lass.

7. In phr. clean an(d) clever (cliver), completely.Sc. 1925 W. Stewart in Scots Mag. (Jan.) 279:
Daver-ma-skin, Saunders, gin I hinna, clean an' clever, forgotten a' aboot that confoondit Droggist's fortin makker!
Uls. 1901 J. W. Byers Lecture III. in North. Whig:
I would rather be clean and cliver out of town than live in the suburbs.

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Clever adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 May 2024 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: