Meaning: something that guides through an intricate procedure or maze of difficulties; specifically : a piece of evidence that leads one toward the solution of a problem.

Origin of the word ‘clue’: The word ‘clue’ derives from ‘clew,’ meaning a ball of thread or yarn. It had come to mean ‘that which points the way’ because of the Greek myth in which Theseus uses a ball of yarn, given to him by Ariadne, to find his way out of the Minotaur’s labyrinth.

This little phrase, which is often given as 'I don't have a clue', doesn't at first sight appear to be idiomatic at all and hardly deserving of investigation. After all, a clue is an insight or idea that points us towards a solution. To be without a clue is simply to be ignorant.
However, a clue (also spelled clew) previously had a different meaning - a globular ball formed from coiling worms or the like or, more specifically, a ball of thread. Clew has been used with that meaning for at least a thousand years and citations of it in Old English date back to 897AD, when no less an author than Aelfred, King of Wessex used it in his West-Saxon translation of Gregory's Pastoral Care. Shakespeare also used the word with the 'thread' meaning, for example, in All's Well that Ends Well, 1602:
"If it be so, you have wound a goodly clewe."

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