clay eater

noun Usually Disparaging.

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

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. 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