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clay (klā)
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n.
1.
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.]

clayey (klāē), clayish adj.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
Clay, Lucius DuBignon 1897-1978.
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American army officer who commanded US forces in Germany (1945-1949) and oversaw the Berlin airlift (1948-1949).

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
Clay, Henry Known as "the Great Compromiser." 1777-1852.
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American politician who pushed the Missouri Compromise through the US House of Representatives (1820) in an effort to reconcile free and slave states.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
Clay (klā), Cassius Marcellus, Jr.
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See Muhammad Ali.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
Clay (klā), Cassius Marcellus 1810-1903.
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American abolitionist and public official who was minister to Russia (1861-1862 and 1863-1869).

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

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