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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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.