"clever" (= skillful, adroit)

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Mon Jul 1 16:49:32 UTC 2002

Larry Horn notes of "clever" "It's actually a very interesting word in
terms of subtle semantic shifts.  I'm aware of (some of) the
differences between contemporary British and U.S. applications
of "clever". . . ."

Here's another:
        Charles Roach brought up to the police office charged with
having last Thursday evening stolen his honour the Mayor's coat, out of
his (the Mayor's) house.  On examination, denied the charge; says, he
don't know how the coat came to be in the street -- never owned such a
coat in his life.  When were you last discharged from prison?  I came
out of the penitentiary the 6th of last July; had been there six
months.  What crime were you then committed for?  You (to the
magistrate) committed me, but whether for stealing or being drunk I
can't tell.  How many days have you been sober since last discharged?
None at all.  Where did you get money to keep so constantly drunk?
Worked for it; just did as much work as kept me cleverly drunk.
     New-York Evening Post, August 12, 1820, p. 2, col. 5


George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
Univ. Pr., 1998.

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