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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!
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.
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!
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
too clever, quick, etc. by ˈhalf(British English, informal, disapproving) much too clever, quick, etc: That boy is too charming by half — he can get you to do anything he wants. ♢ I don’t like her at all — she’s too clever by half.
See also: half
none too ˈclever, ˈhappy, ˈquickly, etc.not at all clever, quickly, etc: The driver was none too pleased about having to leave so early. ♢ Her chances of winning are none too good, I’m afraid.
See also: none