- a natural earthy material that is plastic when wet, consisting essentially of hydrated silicates of aluminum: used for making bricks, pottery, etc.
- earth; mud.
- earth, especially regarded as the material from which the human body was formed.
- the human body, especially as distinguished from the spirit or soul; the flesh.
- human character as estimated according to fineness of constitution, endowments, etc.: The saints and heroes seem of a different clay from most of us.
- to treat or mix with clay; cover, daub, or fill with clay.
- to filter through clay.
Origin of clay1
- a very fine-grained material that consists of hydrated aluminium silicate, quartz, and organic fragments and occurs as sedimentary rocks, soils, and other deposits. It becomes plastic when moist but hardens on heating and is used in the manufacture of bricks, cement, ceramics, etcRelated adjective: figuline
- earth or mud in general
- poetic the material of the human body
- (tr) to cover or mix with clay
Word Origin for clay
- CassiusSee Muhammad Ali
- Henry. 1777–1852, US statesman and orator; secretary of state (1825–29)
Old English clæg "stiff, sticky earth; clay," from West Germanic *klaijaz (cf. Old High German kliwa "bran," German Kleie, Old Frisian klai "clay," Old Saxon klei, Middle Dutch clei, Danish klæg "clay;" also Old English clæman, Old Norse kleima, Old High German kleiman "to cover with clay"), from PIE root *glei- "clay" (cf. Greek gloios "sticky matter;" Latin gluten "glue;" Old Church Slavonic glina "clay," glenu "slime, mucus;" Old Irish glenim "I cleave, adhere").
in Scripture, the stuff from which the body of the first man was formed; hence "human body" (especially when dead). Clay pigeon is from 1888. Feet of clay "fundamental weakness" is from Dan. ii:33.
- A stiff, sticky sedimentary material that is soft and pliable when wet and consists mainly of various silicates of aluminum. Clay particles are smaller than silt, having a diameter less than 0.0039 mm. Clay is widely used to make bricks, pottery, and tiles.
In addition to the idiom beginning with clay
- clay pigeon
- feet of clay