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  1. (obsolete) A roughly spherical mass or body.
  2. (archaic) A ball of thread or yarn.
  • 1962: on one side of her lay a pair of carpet slippers and on the other a ball of red wool, the leading filament of which she would tug at every now and then with the immemorial elbow jerk of a Zemblan knitter to give a turn to her yarn and slacken the thread. " Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire
    1. yarn, Yarn or thread as used to guide one's way through a maze or labyrinth; a guide, a clue.
  • 1926: Not often did Jesse James leave a to his identity when he galloped away from a crime of violence, back into the mysterious Nowhere whence he came. " Robertus Love, The Rise and Fall of Jesse James (University of Nebraska, 1990)
    1. (nautical) The lower corner(s) of a sail to which a sheet is attached for trimming the sail (adjusting its position relative to the wind); the metal loop in the corner of the sail, to which the sheet is attached. On a triangluar sail, the is the trailing corner relative to the wind direction.
    2. (in plural) The sheets so attached to a sail.
    3. (nautical, in plural) The cords suspending a hammock.
  • 2000: He taught us how to attach the clews to the ends of the hammock and then lash it between jack stays. " Ralph W Danklefsen, The Navy I Remember (Xlibris 2000, p. 21)
    1. (alternative spelling of, clue)
  • verb 
    1. (transitive) to roll into a ball
    2. (nautical) (transitive and intransitive) to raise the lower corner(s) of (a sail)
    Etymology: Old English cliwen.

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