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See also: Clay and claþ


English Wikipedia has an article on:
Clay in Estonia


From Middle English cley, clay, from Old English clǣġ (clay), from Proto-West Germanic *klaij, from Proto-Germanic *klajjaz (clay), from Proto-Indo-European *gley- (to glue, paste, stick together).[1]

Cognate with Dutch klei (clay), Low German Klei (clay), German Klei, Danish klæg (clay); compare Ancient Greek γλία (glía), Latin glūten (glue) (whence ultimately English glue), Russian глина (glina, clay). Related also to clag, clog.


  • enPR: klā, IPA(key): /kleɪ/, [kl̥eɪ]
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪ


clay (usually uncountable, plural clays)

  1. A mineral substance made up of small crystals of silica and alumina, that is ductile when moist; the material of pre-fired ceramics.
    • 1914, Louis Joseph Vance, chapter I, in Nobody, New York, N.Y.: George H[enry] Doran Company, published 1915, →OCLC:
      Three chairs of the steamer type, all maimed, comprised the furniture of this roof-garden, with (by way of local colour) on one of the copings a row of four red clay flower-pots filled with sun-baked dust [].
  2. An earth material with ductile qualities.
  3. (tennis) A tennis court surface made of crushed stone, brick, shale, or other unbound mineral aggregate.
    The French Open is played on clay.
  4. (biblical) The material of the human body.
  5. (geology) A particle less than 3.9 microns in diameter, following the Wentworth scale.
  6. A clay pipe for smoking tobacco.
  7. (firearms, informal) A clay pigeon.
    We went shooting clays at the weekend.
  8. (informal) Land or territory of a country or other political region, especially when subject to territorial claims
    Vilnius is rightfully Polish clay.
  9. A moth, Mythimna ferrago


  • (antonym(s) of material of the human body): soul, spirit


Derived terms[edit]


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clay (third-person singular simple present clays, present participle claying, simple past and past participle clayed)

  1. (transitive) To add clay to, to spread clay onto.
  2. (transitive, of sugar) To purify using clay.
    • 1776, Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Book IV, Chapter 7: Of Colonies, Part 2: Causes of Prosperity of New Colonies,
      They amounted, therefore, to a prohibition, at first of claying or refining sugar for any foreign market, and at present of claying or refining it for the market, which takes off, perhaps, more than nine-tenths of the whole produce.
    • 1809, Jonathan Williams, “On the Process of Claying Sugar”, in Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, volume 6:
    • 1985, Stuart B. Schwartz, Sugar Plantations in the Formation of Brazilian Society: Bahia, 1550-1835[1], page 200:
      The Portuguese had mastered the technique of claying sugar, and other European nations tried to learn the secrets from them.

Derived terms[edit]


  1. ^ Krueger 1982; Merriam-Webster 1974.
  • Krueger, Dennis (December 1982). "Why On Earth Do They Call It Throwing?" Studio Potter volume 11, Number 1.[2] (etymology)
  • “clay” in the Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, 1974 edition.
  • Clay, New Webster Dictionary of English Language, 1980 edition.


Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of cley (clay)