Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.


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.
2. Geology A sedimentary material with grains smaller than 0.002 millimeter in diameter.
3. Moist sticky earth; mud.
4. The human body as opposed to the spirit.

[Middle English clei, from Old English clæg.]

clay′ey (klā′ē), clay′ish adj.
Mentioned in ?
References in periodicals archive ?
The lower, and especially the middle submesocyclites of the Middle Riksu Beds contain the largest amount of clayish material typical of the outer part of the open shelf, while the upper and topmost submesocyclites contain numerous discontinuity surfaces, fine-grained storm-layers (tempestites), rounded, pyritized bio- and lithoclasts which are characteristic of the inner part of the open shelf.
Also in the same square were two small blackish nodules of colouring matter with an approximate diameter of 2 cm: coated by a clayish cortex, they look scraped in several places, letting a red-coloured surface appear through the cortex.
The mineral part as the main wearing agent of oil shale consists of carbonate and clayish sandstone compounds [3].
This is most likely due to the sealing of the alabaster unguentarium by the clayish earth, which prevented contact with oxygen," said Ribechini.
Heavy, clayish soil will slow but not halt its spread; under favorable conditions it may invade other parts of the garden.
The body itself, that "blind unsentient barrow of deluded clay and breath" (Absalom 114), is uncanny, that is, both in its clayish opacity and bizarre, robotic movements: (9)
Inside the nests of fungus-growers a much lighter clayish structure comprises the royal cell and chambers with fungus gardens.
After visiting the fifteenth-century Belmonte castle (where a caretaker dreamily described the kiss Charlton Heston gave Sofia Loren while shooting a scene for El Cid) I enter La Mancha: an endless clayish plain south of the Castilian tableland, with large white pueblos among vast expanses of vineyards, golden wheatfields, and oak woods.
2-20 cm thick interbeds, which differed from their host marlstones and limestones in their soft clayish consistency and/or in colour.