Meaning of clew in English:


Pronunciation /kluː/

Translate clew into Spanish


  • 1The lower or after corner of a sail.

    ‘I started to give the outhaul a good yank to get the foot of the main tight and the damned thing came off in my hand along with a piece of the sail containing the clew.’
    • ‘Hullo is a rectangular shaped flat wooden plank seater with its four corners fixed to the roof by means of metal clews which can swing.’
    • ‘A clew of the sail is fixed to the slide allowing the sail to be orientated without a need for a boom.’
    • ‘The lower trailing corner 12 of the sail is known as the clew, and typically incorporates an eyelet, or a series of eyelets.’
  • 2clewsSailing
    The cords by which a hammock is suspended.

    ‘Tie the clew down to the boom using a reef knot.’
    • ‘A good but currently illegal idea you can use to keep tension in the outhaul lines is to tie the clew inhaul shockcord between the clew cringle and the block.’
  • 3 archaic A ball of thread.

    ‘A clew of sugán rope or ceirtlin súgán in traditional style was made of bent grass by Peter Shevlin of Belmullet.’
    • ‘If we observe this clew of wool from, say a kilometre distance, it is just a spot - zero dimension.’
    • ‘The clever man took a clew of rope and suspended it by the door of entry so that it could serve as a guide to all who entered or came out.’
  • 4

    archaic variant of clue

    ‘To this horrible mystery there is not as yet, we believe, the slightest clew.’
    • ‘In searching for evidence of the presence of the murderer, not a clew of any kind could be found.’


[with object]Sailing
clew something up or down
  • Raise (or lower) a square sail by the clews when furling (or unfurling).

    ‘It is mostly the way to man the clew-lines and the bunt-lines, ease off the lee-sheet and clew it up.’
    • ‘If you intend to set them again after the topsail is reefed, clew the sail up.’
    • ‘And your Arthur, I mind, was one of the four men to go aloft to clew it up.’


Old English cliwen, cleowen (denoting a rounded mass, also a ball of thread), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch kluwen. All senses are also recorded for the form clue.