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too (something) by half
Far too something; more something than is necessary. Used in the form, "too (something) by half." Primarily heard in UK. Liam is too clever by half, winning every debate he gets into. That child is too noisy by half!
too clever by half
Too contrived or arrogant in one's cleverness or intelligence, to the point of being irritating to others. Primarily heard in UK. I think every adolescent goes through a stage where they become too clever by half and begin to think of themselves as the only person who has things figured out. The phones people use these days are all too clever by half—I can barely even use them to make phone calls!
A light-hearted or humorous way to refer to an intelligent or clever person. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. He's such a clever clogs. There is no question he can't answer.
A light-hearted or humorous way to refer to an intelligent or clever person. Primarily heard in Australia. Judy's such a clever boots. She solved the puzzle in 30 seconds.
A person who irritates others by constantly trying to prove their superior intelligence. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. Don't be such a clever dick! It's not necessary to correct everyone's grammar all of the time.
as (something) as they come
Said of someone or something that displays a trait or characteristic to the utmost degree. Bryce is as talented as they come. Once you see him on stage, you'll agree. These strawberries are as fresh as they come. They were literally just picked!
See also: come
To act skillfully and cunningly or deceitfully to achieve a desired outcome. Primarily heard in UK. The principal is already on to you, so you're going to have to box clever to avoid a suspension.
be too clever by half
To be too contrived or arrogant in one's cleverness or intelligence, to the point of being irritating to others. Primarily heard in UK. I think every adolescent goes through a stage of being too clever by half, thinking of themselves as the only person who has things really figured out. The phones people use these days are all too clever by half—I can barely even use them to make phone calls!
Not much, not very, or not at all. We got there none too early. My husband could use some project to work on; he's been none too busy since he lost his job.
(as) clever as a wagonload of monkeys
Impish or mischievous. ("Cartload" can be used instead of "wagonload.") Primarily heard in UK. Don't let those boys sit together—they're as clever as a wagonload of monkeys.
be boxing clever
To be acting skillfully and cunningly or deceitfully to achieve a desired outcome. Primarily heard in UK. I wasn't boxing clever at the time, so it was easy for the principal to see that I had broken the rules.
none too something
not very something; not at all something. The towels in the bathroom were none too clean. It was none too warm in their house.
Also, not too. Not very, as in The application arrived none too soon, or I'm afraid this secretary is not too smart, or He was here not too long ago. The first usage was first recorded in 1885; the variant dates from about 1920. Also see not all that.
be boxing cleverBRITISH
If someone is boxing clever, they are being very clever and careful in the way they behave in a difficult situation, so that they can get an advantage for themselves. By boxing clever with your personal tax allowances you could save £900 a year.
too clever by half
If you describe a person or their actions as too clever by half, you mean that they are too clever, in a way that you do not like or in a way that causes problems for them. His many admirers describe him as clever: his enemies as too clever by half. You had to tell the press, didn't you? Too clever by half. Note: Other adjectives are sometimes used instead of clever. He was stylish, angry, and too cool by half.
box cleveract so as to outwit someone. British informal
1950 Alexander Baron There's No Home If you box clever and keep your mouth shut…you ought to be able to count on a suspended sentence.
too clever by halfannoyingly proud of your intelligence or skill. informal
box ˈclever(British English, informal) act in a clever way to get what you want, sometimes tricking and deceiving somebody: Suzie realized that she had to box clever. She had to let Adam think she trusted him.
ˈclever Dick(also ˈclever clogs) (British English, informal, disapproving) a person who thinks that they are always right or that they know everything: Come on then, clever clogs, tell us the answer! ♢ (ironic) Some clever Dick has parked his car so close to mine I can’t get out!
as ˌclever, ˌstupid, etc. as they ˈcomevery clever, stupid, etc: He’s just about as mean as they come. He wouldn’t even lend me a couple of dollars!
See also: come