What does clay mean?

Definitions for clay

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word clay.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. claynoun

    a very fine-grained soil that is plastic when moist but hard when fired

  2. mud, claynoun

    water soaked soil; soft wet earth

  3. Clay, Lucius Clay, Lucius DuBignon Claynoun

    United States general who commanded United States forces in Europe from 1945 to 1949 and who oversaw the Berlin airlift (1897-1978)

  4. Clay, Henry Clay, the Great Compromisernoun

    United States politician responsible for the Missouri Compromise between free and slave states (1777-1852)

  5. cadaver, corpse, stiff, clay, remainsnoun

    the dead body of a human being

    "the cadaver was intended for dissection"; "the end of the police search was the discovery of a corpse"; "the murderer confessed that he threw the stiff in the river"; "honor comes to bless the turf that wraps their clay"


  1. claynoun

    A mineral substance made up of small crystals of silica and alumina, that is ductile when moist; the material of pre-fired ceramics.

  2. claynoun

    An earth material with ductile qualities.

  3. claynoun

    A tennis court surface.

    The French Open is played on clay.

  4. claynoun

    The material of the human body.

  5. claynoun

    A particle less than 3.9 microns in diameter, following the Wentworth scale

  6. clayverb

    To add clay to, to spread clay onto.

  7. clayverb

    To purify using clay.

  8. Claynoun

    transferred from the surname.

  9. Claynoun

    A surname.

  10. Claynoun

    A male given name transferred from the surname.

    When he was about five years old some kids asked Clay why his mother had called him that. And he did not know. But began to wonder.

  11. Claynoun

    A diminutive of the male given name Clayton.

  12. Claynoun

    A town, the county seat of Clay County, West Virginia, United States.

  13. Claynoun

    Ellipsis of Clay County

  14. Claynoun

    A census-designated place in Sacramento County, California, United States.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. CLAYnoun

    Etymology: clai, Welsh; kley, Dutch.

    Clays are earths firmly coherent, weighty and compact, stiff, viscid, and ductile to a great degree, while moist; smooth to the touch, not easily breaking between the fingers, nor readily diffusible in water; and, when mixed, not readily subsiding from it. John Hill, on Fossils.

    Deep Acheron,

    Whose troubled eddies, thick with ooze and clay,
    Are whirl’d aloft. John Dryden, Æneid.

    Expose the clay to the rain, to drain it from salts, that the bricks may be more durable. John Woodward, on Fossils.

    The sun, which softens wax, will harden clay. Isaac Watts.

    Clover is the best way of improving clays, where manure is scarce. John Mortimer, Husbandry.

    Why should our clay,
    Over our spirits so much sway. John Donne.

  2. To Clayverb

    To cover with clay; to manure with clay.

    Etymology: from the noun.

    This manuring lasts fifty years: then the ground must be clayed again. John Mortimer, Husbandry.


  1. Clay

    Clay is a type of fine-grained natural soil material containing clay minerals (hydrous aluminium phyllosilicates, e.g. kaolin, Al2Si2O5(OH)4). Clays develop plasticity when wet, due to a molecular film of water surrounding the clay particles, but become hard, brittle and non–plastic upon drying or firing. Most pure clay minerals are white or light-coloured, but natural clays show a variety of colours from impurities, such as a reddish or brownish colour from small amounts of iron oxide.Clay is the oldest known ceramic material. Prehistoric humans discovered the useful properties of clay and used it for making pottery. Some of the earliest pottery shards have been dated to around 14,000 BC, and clay tablets were the first known writing medium. Clay is used in many modern industrial processes, such as paper making, cement production, and chemical filtering. Between one-half and two-thirds of the world's population live or work in buildings made with clay, often baked into brick, as an essential part of its load-bearing structure. Clay is a very common substance. Shale, formed largely from clay, is the most common sedimentary rock. Although many naturally occurring deposits include both silts and clay, clays are distinguished from other fine-grained soils by differences in size and mineralogy. Silts, which are fine-grained soils that do not include clay minerals, tend to have larger particle sizes than clays. Mixtures of sand, silt and less than 40% clay are called loam. Soils high in swelling clays (expansive clay), which are clay minerals that readily expand in volume when they absorb water, are a major challenge in civil engineering.


  1. clay

    Clay is a type of finely-grained, naturally occurring soil material that is rich in minerals. It is primarily composed of small particles of silicates and other minerals, which gives it a plastic texture when wet and a hard, rock-like consistency when dry. Clay is known for its ability to retain water and is often used in making pottery, bricks, tiles or ceramics due to its malleability and high thermal resistance.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Claynoun

    a soft earth, which is plastic, or may be molded with the hands, consisting of hydrous silicate of aluminium. It is the result of the wearing down and decomposition, in part, of rocks containing aluminous minerals, as granite. Lime, magnesia, oxide of iron, and other ingredients, are often present as impurities

  2. Claynoun

    earth in general, as representing the elementary particles of the human body; hence, the human body as formed from such particles

  3. Clayverb

    to cover or manure with clay

  4. Clayverb

    to clarify by filtering through clay, as sugar

  5. Etymology: [AS. clg; akin to LG. klei, D. klei, and perh. to AS. clm clay, L. glus, gluten glue, Gr. gloio`s glutinous substance, E. glue. Cf. Clog.]


  1. Clay

    Clay is a general term including many combinations of one or more clay minerals with traces of metal oxides and organic matter. Geologic clay deposits are mostly composed of phyllosilicate minerals containing variable amounts of water trapped in the mineral structure.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Clay

    klā, n. a tenacious ductile earth: earth in general: the human body: short for clay-pipe, a tobacco-pipe made of baked clay.—v.t. to purify with clay, as sugar.—adjs. Clay′-brained (Shak.), stupid; Clay′-cold, cold as clay, lifeless.—n. Clay′-eat′er, one addicted to chewing a fatty clay—in Brazil and elsewhere.—adjs. Clayed, clay-like; Clay′ey, made of clay: covered with clay.—n. Clay′-ground, ground consisting mainly of clay.—adj. Clay′ish, of the nature of clay.—ns. Clay′-marl, a whitish chalky clay; Clay′-mill, a mill for preparing clay; Clay′-slate, an argillaceous rock, splitting readily into thin sheets; Clay′stone, one of the concretionary nodules in alluvial deposits.—Wet one's clay, to drink. [A.S. clæg; cf. Dan. klæg, Ger. klei.]

Editors Contribution

  1. clay

    A type of material

    The clay was used to make pottery.

    Submitted by MaryC on March 19, 2020  

Suggested Resources

  1. clay

    Song lyrics by clay -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by clay on the Lyrics.com website.

  2. CLAY

    What does CLAY stand for? -- Explore the various meanings for the CLAY acronym on the Abbreviations.com website.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. CLAY

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Clay is ranked #708 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Clay surname appeared 48,844 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 17 would have the surname Clay.

    52.7% or 25,760 total occurrences were White.
    40.5% or 19,782 total occurrences were Black.
    2.9% or 1,416 total occurrences were of two or more races.
    2.4% or 1,187 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    0.9% or 459 total occurrences were American Indian or Alaskan Native.
    0.4% or 239 total occurrences were Asian.

British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'clay' in Nouns Frequency: #2113

Anagrams for clay »

  1. acyl

  2. lacy

  3. Lacy

How to pronounce clay?

How to say clay in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of clay in Chaldean Numerology is: 8

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of clay in Pythagorean Numerology is: 5

Examples of clay in a Sentence

  1. Manu:

    Single is every living creature born, Single he passes to another world, Single he eats the fruit of evil deeds, Single, the fruit of good; and when he leaves His body, like a log or heap of clay, Upon the ground, his kinsmen walk away: Virtue alone stays by him at the tomb, And bears him through the dreary, trackless gloom.

  2. President Obama on Thursday:

    Clay Hunt suffered physical injuries that healed, and Clay Hunt suffered invisible sounds that stayed with Clay Hunt, by all accounts Clay Hunt was selfless, and Clay Hunt was brave.

  3. Omar Khayyam:

    I do remember stopping by the way, To watch a potter thumping his wet clay; And with its all-obliterated tongue It murmured, ?Gently, brother, gently, pray!?

  4. John Fitzgerald Kennedy:

    To exclude from positions of trust and command all those below the age of 44 would have kept Jefferson from writing the Declaration of Independence, Washington from commanding the Continental Army, Madison from fathering the Constitution, Hamilton from serving as secretary of the treasury, Clay from being elected speaker of the House and Christopher Columbus from discovering America.

  5. Juan Martin del Potro:

    On clay he's a very powerful player, he plays a very intelligent game, it's going to be a tough match, like all of the matches on clay for me. I will just try to play a little bit better than today.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for clay

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"clay." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 30 Nov. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/clay>.

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    causing disapproval or protest
    • A. blistering
    • B. profound
    • C. dependable
    • D. obnoxious

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