A piece of pottery being formed out of clay.
- The definition of clay is fine-grained soil or water-soaked earth.
An example of clay is a soft blob of water-soaked earth or fine grain soil that you use when wet and pliable to sculpt a vase, which is then fired under high heat and becomes hard.
- a firm, fine-grained earth, plastic when wet, composed chiefly of hydrous aluminum silicate minerals: it is produced by the chemical decomposition of rocks or the deposit of fine rock particles in water and is used in the manufacture of bricks, pottery, and other ceramics
- soil composed of mineral particles of very small size
- earth, esp. as a symbol of the material of the human body
- the human body
Origin of clayMiddle English clei ; from Old English clæg ; from Indo-European base an unverified form glei-, to stick together from source clammy, German klei, mud, Classical Latin glus, glue
- a. A fine-grained, firm earthy material that is plastic when wet and hardens when heated, consisting primarily of hydrated silicates of aluminum and widely used in making bricks, tiles, and pottery.b. A hardening or nonhardening material having a consistency similar to clay and used for modeling.
- Geology A sedimentary material with grains smaller than 0.002 millimeter in diameter.
- Moist sticky earth; mud.
- The human body as opposed to the spirit.
Origin of clayMiddle English clei, from Old English clæg.
- clay′ey , clay′ish
(usually uncountable, plural clays)
- A mineral substance made up of small crystals of silica and alumina, that is ductile when moist; the material of pre-fired ceramics.
- An earth material with ductile qualities.
- (tennis) A tennis court surface.
- The French Open is played on clay.
- (biblical) The material of the human body.
- (geology) A particle less than 3.9 microns in diameter, following the Wentworth scale
- (firearms, informal) a clay pigeon
(third-person singular simple present clays, present participle claying, simple past and past participle clayed)
- To add clay to, to spread clay onto.
- (of sugar) To purify using clay.
From Middle English clay, cley, from Old English clǣġ (“clay”), from Proto-Germanic *klajjaz (“clay”), from Proto-Indo-European *gley- (“to glue, paste, stick together”). Cognate with Dutch klei (“clay”), Low German klei (“clay”), German Klei, Danish klæg (“clay”); compare Ancient Greek γλία (glía), Latin glūs (“glue”), Ukrainian ґлей (glej, “clay”). Related also to clag, clog.
From a Middle English occupational name for a clay worker, or a habitational name, from Old English clǣġ (“clay”).