In BrEng, at least in the North, there is an idiom:
"You don't look too clever."
"You're looking quite ill."
Does anybody know the etymology of this idiom please?
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It doesn't give the origin, but it is recognised by the OED as sense 5b of clever. see below. It is certainly well understood and used in Norfolk, and I feel sure I have heard Londoners use it.
5b. ‘Active’ as opposed to ‘infirm’; having ordinary healthy activity; in health, well. dial.
?1746 ‘T. Bobbin’ View Lancs. Dial. Gloss., Clever, skilful, very well.
1775 in Essex Inst. Hist. Coll. (1877) XIII. 196 Father was very clever last Saturday p.m.
1815 Massachusetts Spy 14 June I somehow did not feel quite clever, but hoped for the best.
1887 W. D. Parish & W. F. Shaw Dict. Kentish Dial. Clever, in good health. ‘How are you to-day?’ ‘Well, thankee, not very clever’, i.e. not very active; not up to much exertion.
1937 E. Partridge Dict. Slang 158/2 Not too clever, indisposed in health..is common in Australia and New Zealand.