No clue!

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Senior Member
USA English
The English expression "no clue" means that somebody lacks knowledge about something.
For example, "He has no clue about the Internet."
If I ask somebody to explain the quadratic formula to me, the person might respond, "I have no clue!"
or in shortened form, "No clue!"

Has "No clue!" become an international expression, understandable to many people who aren't fluent in English ?
A friend whose first language is Chinese titled a Forum post, "No clue!" and I was surprised that he was comfortable with the expression.

If I were to include "no clue" in Roman characters as part of a movie poster aimed at a worldwide audience,
would it make sense to anybody?

I am starting this thread here, because this forum attracts people from all languages.
Mod: Please move or delete if you think this is the wrong place for it on WR.
  • Xinito

    Senior Member
    It very well may be known world-wide (in major countries, that is), due to all the American movies that are shown all over (and they normally just put subtitles, not dubbed)... But who knows... (TV is normally dubbed, I think)...


    Senior Member
    Bicol & Filipino
    When I saw the title of this thread, my first thought is that the starter of the thread might be posting a phrase or sentence that he has "no clue" what it says, which means he does not know what language it is.

    Well, it makes sense to me. "No clue"


    Senior Member
    Hmmm... I don't think that "no clue!" is the same as "okay" and "weekend" (everybody knows and uses those all the time). At least not here (that would be Romania).

    If I shrug my shoulders while saying it I'd expect my 9 year-old brother to get it (if he just asked where mum was and I've no idea). But it isn't one of those expressions that people just know, or use in everyday conversations.

    That said, we use subtitles and not dubbing so many young people will be familiar with it (then again, many young people here speak English).

    :)o Of course, naming a thread "no clue" is against the forum rules unless the question is about the expression. By the way, there are a couple of nice threads in the English Only forum about this: no clue, I have no idea vs I haven't a clue :))


    Senior Member
    Welsh - Northern
    Well, there is the Scottism, "(not) to have a scooby", which has been recorded since about 1990. I believe it's Glaswegian rhyming slang, usually found in negative contexts:

    "X hasn't got a scooby/scoobie ( < Scooby Doo > 'clue') about what to do next"
    X has no idea/no clue what to do next

    You all know who Scooby Doo is, dontcha? ;)


    Senior Member
    Scooby Doo is reasonably famous but hasn't made it into the vernacular where I'm from.

    The only "clue" I can think of in French is the classic mystery game Cluedo (Colonel Mustard with the candlestick in the library, anyone?) ;)
    It was such a shock years ago to find it as "Clue" in a US version:confused:. Everyone here knows it as Cluedo, even the translated versions are called that. Still, it hasn't helped put "no clue!" in everyday speech. :)
    Not in Greek, we don't use "clue" or anything similar:

    «Δεν έχω ιδέα από..» [ðen ˈe.xɔ iˈðe.a aˈpɔ] --> I have no idea about...

    «Είμαι άσχετος/άσχετη από...» [ˈ ˈas.çe.tɔs aˈpo] (masc.)/[ˈ ˈas.çe.ti aˈpɔ] (fem.) --> I'm iɡnorant about...
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