clay eater

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noun Usually Disparaging.

(in the South Atlantic States) a term used to refer to a poor, uneducated person from a rural area.

Nearby words

  1. clawhand,
  2. clawson,
  3. claxon,
  4. clay,
  5. clay court,
  6. clay flour,
  7. clay mineral,
  8. clay pigeon,
  9. clay road,
  10. clay stone

Origin of clay eater

An Americanism dating back to 1835–45

Usage note

This term refers to the eating of clay-rich dirt, a persistent custom among poor white and black people in some rural areas of the South.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for clay eater

  • The term "sand-hiller," or "clay-eater," is a terrible one of reproach, and is applied unsparingly by the aristocrats.

    Daring and Suffering:|William Pittenger