clever

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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!
See also: 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!
See also: by, 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 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.
See also: clever, dick

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

box clever

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.
See also: box, clever

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!
See also: by, clever, half

none too

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.
See also: none

(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.
See also: clever, monkey, of, wagonload

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 headmaster to see that I had broken the rules.
See also: boxing, clever

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.
See also: none

none too

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.
See also: none

be boxing clever

BRITISH
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.
See also: boxing, clever

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.
See also: by, clever, half

box clever

act 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.
See also: box, clever

too clever by half

annoyingly proud of your intelligence or skill. informal
See also: by, clever, half

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.
See also: box, clever

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!
See also: clever, dick

as ˌclever, ˌstupid, etc. as they ˈcome

very 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: by, 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
References in periodicals archive ?
Traditionally, platelets were considered inert materials that cleverer cells used to make blood clots, as cement is used by architects and builders.
What makes a fox cleverer than an ant or a gorilla stupider than a chimpanzee?
As more people go online to shop and manage their finances, cyber criminals become cleverer at finding ways to relieve us of our personal information and cash," she says, adding that no reputable organisation will ask for your account details by email.
Yet Prince's abiding blend of avantgarde and kitsch has never been cleverer than in My Life Story, 2004-2005, in which four hard-boiled jokes are stenciled on a grid of standard-issue yellow checks stretched across an expanse of creamy white, or in My Religion, 2004-2005, in which the checks--now preprinted with images of Jimi Hendrix--are arrayed in a loose configuration evocative of Jasper Johns's signature flagstone pattern.
Had the former general and onetime Republican voter decided to jump into the presidential race a year earlier, chosen cleverer advisors, and not conceded Iowa, I think the probability is high that he would have won the nomination, and maybe the presidency.
We might like to believe the graceful, noble steed is cleverer than a creature we have come to associate with gluttony, mud and all manner of "lesser" barnyard functions, (none of which seem to bother us when we are ordering breakfast) but naturalist Lyall Watson tells us otherwise.
The more detailed the laws, the faster and cleverer were the changes in fashion.
Perhaps it is this simple: girls are cleverer and more hardworking than boys.
The stupidest virus is cleverer than the cleverest virologist.
Wouldn't a cleverer cartoon have tried to play on the irony that the norms of "sensiti vity" are being applied to something written on a bomb?
I never could figure out how to do that, but now a cleverer journalist has.
One of nature's cleverer feats of engineering, burrs' tough, hooklike fibers securely lock onto anything that brushes against the seed heads.
Are we cleverer, and we as nature's guardian, do we abuse our Power?