- (obsolete) A roughly spherical mass or body.
- (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
- 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)
- (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.
- (in plural) The sheets so attached to a sail.
- (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)
- (alternative spelling of, clue)
Etymology: Old English cliwen.
- (transitive) to roll into a ball
- (nautical) (transitive and intransitive) to raise the lower corner(s) of (a sail)
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Full Definition of clew