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Clever vs Adroit vs Cunning vs Ingenious

Clever, adroit, cunning, ingenious are comparable when they mean having or showing a high degree of practical intelligence or of skill in contrivance.

Clever often carries an implication of physical dexterity but it usually stresses mental quickness or resourcefulness.

Adroit usually suggests greater shrewdness and astuteness than clever and often implies the skillful (sometimes the crafty) use of expedients to attain one’s ends in the face of difficulties.

Cunning (see also SLY) may retain its older implications of learning and expert knowledge and is then chiefly applied to craftsmen or artists whose work exhibits a high degree of constructive or creative skill.

Ingenious stresses inventive power or skill in discovery; sometimes it implies brilliancy of mind, sometimes little more than cleverness.