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definition of the word clay

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Old English clǣġ, from Germanic *klaijā-, from *kli- ‘to stick, cleave’, from Indo-European *glei- which means to glue, paste, stick together.[1] Cognate with Dutch klei, German Klei; compare Ancient Greek γλία, Latin glūs ‘glue’.



clay (uncountable)

  1. A mineral substance made up of small crystals of silica and alumina, that is ductile when moist; the material of pre-fired ceramics.
  2. An earth material with ductile qualities.
  3. A tennis court surface.
    The French Open are played on clay.
  4. (idiomatic) (Biblical) The material of the human body.
    • 1611. Old Testament, King James Version, Job 10:8-9:
      Thine hands have made me and fashioned me together round about...thou hast made me as the clay.
    • 1611. Old Testament, King James Version, Isaiah 64:8:
      But now, O Lord, thou art our Father; we are the clay, and thou art our potter; and we are the work of thy hand.

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