from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Something that serves to guide or direct in the solution of a problem or mystery.
  • transitive verb To give (someone) guiding information.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A ball or skein of thread or yarn.
  • noun The thread or yarn that is wound into the form of a ball; thread in general.
  • noun Hence Anything that guides or directs one in an intricate case; a guide or key to the solution of a puzzle or problem, or the unraveling of a plot or mystery: in allusion to the mythological story that Theseus was guided by a clue of thread through the Cretan labyrinth.
  • noun A measure of yarn or hemp, 4,800 yards.
  • noun Nautical, a lower corner of a square sail or the aftmost corner of a fore-and-aft sail.
  • Nautical, to haul up to the yard (the lower corners of a topsail, topgallantsail, or royal) by means of the clue-lines: used with up.
  • To direct, as by a clue or thread.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A ball of thread; a thread or other means of guidance. Same as clew.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A strand of yarn etc. as used to guide one through a labyrinth; something which points the way, a guide.
  • noun Information which may lead one to a certain point or conclusion.
  • noun An object or a kind of indication which may be used as evidence.
  • verb To provide with a clue (often used with "in" or "up").
  • verb To provide someone with information which he or she lacks.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a slight indication
  • noun evidence that helps to solve a problem
  • verb roll into a ball


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Variant of clew (from Theseus's use of a ball of thread as a guide through the Cretan labyrinth).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Variant of clew, "a ball of thread or yarn", with reference to the one which the mythical Theseus used to guide him out of the Minotaur's labyrinth.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word clue.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Clue is a crime fiction board game originally published by Waddingtons in the United Kingdom in 1948. It was devised by Anthony E. Pratt, a solicitor's clerk and part-time clown from Birmingham, England. It is now published by the United States game and toy company Hasbro, which acquired its U.S. publisher Parker Brothers as well as Waddingtons.

    The game is set in a mansion, with the board divided into different rooms. The players each represent a character who is a guest staying at this house, whose owner, Dr. Black (Mr. Boddy in the North American version), has been found murdered. Players attempt to solve the murder. The solution to the murder requires the three components of Suspect, Weapon, and Room.


    February 12, 2008

  • Clue got expanded into a movie at some point in the 80s. It's the only movie I know of with three different endings.

    February 13, 2008

  • It was a great movie.

    February 14, 2008

  • I'm sorry but I don't have this word listed.

    May 1, 2008

  • You mean...(wait for it)....

    You haven't a clue?

    May 1, 2008

  • HAR!

    May 1, 2008

  • Well, I had a bit of a clue but I dropped it and reesetee picked it up. Oh, and perhaps see isihac, shag pile and the list clueless balls for the full connect. However, avoid the page schadenfreudgeon for it's a cred herring.

    May 1, 2008

  • Clue the board game is known as Cluedo in its home country. (a pun on ludo)

    May 2, 2008

  • See, now what you've done. Cluedo (I assume long "o") makes me think of 'Clouseau,' *snort* which always leads *snort, chortle* fits of irrational exuberance in me.

    "Does your dog bite?"

    *over come by apoplectic fit of laughter*


    May 2, 2008

  • Hahaha! One of my favorite scenes!

    "No, my dog does not bite."

    May 2, 2008

  • "Ouch!"

    "I thought you said your dog didn't bite!?"

    *snorting with anticipation!*

    May 3, 2008

  • "That is not my dog."

    Aaaahaha! We slay ourselves!

    May 3, 2008

  • We so do!

    May 3, 2008

  • Mr Green in the conservatory with a candlestick - just stringing things along ( look up the etymology of clue)

    May 3, 2008

  • Ooh yes. I only learnt that last year. Brilliant bit of hidden language.

    May 3, 2008

  • See hammock.

    September 24, 2010