clay eater


noun Usually Disparaging.

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

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Origin of clay eater

An Americanism dating back to 1835–45

usage note for clay eater

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. 2020

Example sentences 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