clay

noun, often attributive
\ ˈklā How to pronounce clay (audio) \

Definition of clay

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : an earthy material that is plastic when moist but hard when fired, that is composed mainly of fine particles of hydrous aluminum silicates and other minerals, and that is used for brick, tile, and pottery specifically : soil composed chiefly of this material having particles less than a specified size
b : earth, mud
2a : a substance that resembles clay in plasticity and is used for modeling
b : the human body as distinguished from the spirit
c : fundamental nature or character the common clay

Clay

biographical name (1)
\ ˈklā How to pronounce Clay (audio) \

Definition of Clay (Entry 2 of 3)

Henry 1777–1852 American statesman and orator

Clay

biographical name (2)

Definition of Clay (Entry 3 of 3)

Lucius Du Bi*gnon \ du̇-​ˈbin-​yən How to pronounce du̇-ˈbin-yən (audio)\ 1897–1978 American general

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Other Words from clay

Noun

clayey \ ˈklā-​ē How to pronounce clayey (audio) \ adjective
clayish \ ˈklā-​ish How to pronounce clayish (audio) \ adjective
claylike \ ˈklā-​ˌlīk How to pronounce claylike (audio) \ adjective

Examples of clay in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Collaborative Landscape- Using sand, paper, clay, recycled boxes, natural materials. Chronicle Staff Report, San Francisco Chronicle, "Kids listings," 19 Apr. 2018 Vitamin A, green tea, kaolin clay, and lavender oil make this mask super revitalizing and help purify and plump stressed, dehydrated skin. Bella Gerard, Health.com, "These Are the 13 Products You Need to Snag From Dermstore’s Winter Essentials Sale," 16 Jan. 2018 Made using multiple colors of clay in a process that dates back to medieval times, the old-school trend is having a moment right now. Megan Beauchamp, House Beautiful, "Alert: Encaustic Tile is Making a Major Comeback," 12 Feb. 2019 For many men, the idea of spending 15 minutes plastered in a damp, papery sheet mask or sealed in the grips of a gritty clay mask is becoming less alien. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "Facial Masks: For Men Who Seek a Skin-Care Edge," 6 Nov. 2018 These items ranged from 770 – 201 B.C. The three highlights of the exhibit were a spooky, clay mask used for exorcisms; a chest plate and helmet made of limestone tiles; and a life-size Terracotta horse. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Paul Daugherty's Morning Line: Cincinnati Reds need the off day, and other MLB thoughts," 12 July 2018 That’s because ketchup — along with a whole host of other substances ranging from clay face masks to printing inks — is thixotropic. Lacy Schley, Discover Magazine, "That Word You Heard: Thixotropic," 15 June 2018 The injury relapse subsequently forced him out of the Mexico Open and Masters tournaments at Indian Wells and Miami, but Nadal appears to be back to his ruthless and rapid best on clay. Jerome Pugmire, The Seattle Times, "Even modest Nadal impressed by record 31st Masters title," 22 Apr. 2018 Clues to its staying power may lie in the thick mucky clay washing out of the island’s cone and down its deeply furrowed flanks. Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "A Young Island in the South Pacific Oozes Mysteries and Mud," 5 Feb. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'clay.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of clay

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for clay

Noun

Middle English, from Old English clǣg; akin to Old High German klīwa bran, Latin gluten glue, Middle Greek glia

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Learn More about clay

Dictionary Entries near clay

claw-tailed

claw tool

claxon

clay

Clay

claybank

clayboard

Statistics for clay

Last Updated

18 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for clay

The first known use of clay was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for clay

clay

noun

English Language Learners Definition of clay

: a heavy, sticky material from the earth that is made into different shapes and that becomes hard when it is baked or dried

clay

noun
\ ˈklā How to pronounce clay (audio) \

Kids Definition of clay

1 : an earthy material that is sticky and easily molded when wet and hard when baked
2 : a substance like clay that is used for modeling

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More from Merriam-Webster on clay

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with clay

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for clay

Spanish Central: Translation of clay

Nglish: Translation of clay for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of clay for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about clay

Comments on clay

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