clever

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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!
See also: clever, half

clever clogs

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.
See also: clever, clog

clever boots

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.
See also: boot, clever

clever dick

A person who irritates others by contantly trying to prove his or her 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.
See also: clever, dick

box clever

  (British)
to behave in a clever and sometimes slightly dishonest way to try to achieve a result you want
Usage notes: A good boxer (= man who fights as a sport) is a person who uses skill as well as strength to win fights.
Obviously he would have to box clever in the witness stand to avoid implicating himself.
See also: box, clever

a clever clogs

  (British & Australian humorous) also a clever boots (Australian humorous)
if you call someone a clever clogs, you mean that they are very clever I bet old clever clogs here knows the answer.
See also: clever, clog

a clever dick

  (British & Australian)
someone who tries too hard to show that they are clever, in a way which annoys other people He's such a clever dick, talking loudly on the phone in lots of different languages.
See also: clever, dick

be too clever by half

  (British)
to be too confident of your own intelligence in a way that annoys other people At school he had a reputation for arrogance. 'Too clever by half' was how one former teacher described him.
See box clever
See also: clever, half
References in classic literature ?
It is a proof of cleverness," said Newman, "to be happy without doing anything.
Imperfect as the design, the attitude, the costume, and especially the face of the image still remained, there was already an effect that drew the eye from the wooden cleverness of Drowne's earlier productions and fixed it upon the tantalizing mystery of this new project.
He was the chief purveyor of the Legitimist armies, an honest broker of stores, and enjoyed a great reputation for cleverness.
His cleverness in other ways was sufficient, if it was not quite all that I had attributed to him on the occasion of my first interview with Miss Tita.
It took all her cleverness to account for such things.
Her smile had for him, with the words, the particular mild irony with which he found half her talk suffused; an irony without bitterness and that came, exactly, from her having so much imagination - not, like the cheap sarcasms with which one heard most people, about the world of "society," bid for the reputation of cleverness, from nobody's really having any.
He used to make merry over the cleverness of women, but I have not heard him do it of late.
Like most clever criminals, he may be too confident in his own cleverness and imagine that he has completely deceived us.
You have all the cleverness which makes a successful man.
How little, we feel, avails knowledge and technical cleverness against a man who truly feels
Then she strewed the meal all about the cellar, and was quite pleased with her cleverness, and said, 'How very neat and clean it looks
Mingott, who had summoned him for a confidential interview, had congratulated him on his cleverness, and added impatiently: "Silly goose
He was surprised at himself because he ceased to believe so easily, and, not knowing that he felt as he did on account of the subtle workings of his inmost nature, he ascribed the certainty he had reached to his own cleverness.
Anatole was sincerely fond of Dolokhov for his cleverness and audacity.
Miss Brooke was certainly very naive with all her alleged cleverness.