Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

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.  11936:
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. 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.

2. “In good health” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). 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). 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.

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"Clever adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 15 Dec 2018 <>



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