clay


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Related to clay: Henry Clay, Michaels

clay pigeon

A person who is easily exploited, deceived, or taken advantage of, especially due to being in a position of vulnerability. Likened to the clay pigeons (small clay discs) used as targets in trapshooting. Primarily heard in US, South Africa. He was used as a clay pigeon by the mafia, who laundered money through his accounts.
See also: clay, pigeon

potter's clay

A special type of clay that does not contain iron and is often used for making pottery. OK, class, make sure to get some potter's clay before you sit down at your wheel today.
See also: clay

feet of clay

A weakness or failing in someone. This phrase comes from the Bible. I know it's hard to believe, but any one you admire surely has feet of clay.
See also: clay, feet, of

have feet of clay

Fig. [for a strong person] to have a defect of character. All human beings have feet of clay. No one is perfect. Sally was popular and successful. She was nearly fifty before she learned that she, too, had feet of clay.
See also: clay, feet, have, of

clay pigeon

A person easily duped or taken advantage of, as in You're a clay pigeon for all of those telephone fund-raisers. The term alludes to the clay pigeon of trapshooting, which replaced the use of live birds in this sport in the 1860s. Its transfer to figurative use in the first half of the 1900s probably is explained by the much older slang use of pigeon for "dupe." Also see fall guy.
See also: clay, pigeon

feet of clay

A failing or weakness in a person's character, as in The media are always looking for a popular idol's feet of clay. This expression comes from the Bible (Daniel 2:31-33), where the prophet interprets Nebuchadnezzar's dream of a statue with a head of gold and feet of iron clay. [c. 1600]
See also: clay, feet, of

have feet of clay

If someone who is admired or respected has feet of clay, they have serious faults or weaknesses which people generally do not know about. When those idols are found to have feet of clay the pain of disappointment can be profound. He's just another rock star with feet of clay. Note: You can also say that someone has clay feet. King writes endlessly about his subject's clay feet. Note: According to the Bible, King Nebuchadnezzar asked Daniel to explain his dream of a giant idol, which was made of gold, silver, brass, and iron, but had feet made partly from clay. Daniel told the king that the clay feet were a sign of weakness and vulnerability. (Daniel 2:33)
See also: clay, feet, have, of

have feet of clay

have a fatal flaw in a character that is otherwise powerful or admirable.
This expression alludes to the biblical account of a magnificent statue seen in a dream by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. It was constructed from fine metals, all except for its feet which were made of clay; when these were smashed, the whole statue was brought down and destroyed. Daniel interprets this to signify a future kingdom that will be ‘partly strong, and partly broken’, and will eventually fall (Daniel 2:31–5).
See also: clay, feet, have, of

feet of ˈclay

a surprising fault or weakness in the character of somebody who is admired and respected: Why are people always surprised when they discover that their heroes have feet of clay?This idiom comes from a story in the Bible, where the king of Babylon saw an image with a head of gold and feet of clay.
See also: clay, feet, of

clay

n. good-quality hashish. (Drugs.) Ask John where you can dig up some clay.

clay pigeon

n. a gullible person; a pigeon. (Underworld.) We need a clay pigeon to divert attention from the snatch.
See also: clay, pigeon

feet of clay

An underlying weakness or fault: "They discovered to their vast discomfiture that their idol had feet of clay, after placing him upon a pedestal" (James Joyce).
See also: clay, feet, of

feet of clay

A flaw or vulnerability of someone who is otherwise admirable. In the Bible's Book of Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar dreamed that he saw a statue made of gold, silver, and brass, but with feet of clay. Daniel interpreted the vision to mean that the clay symbolized the Babylonian Empire's vulnerability and imminent collapse. (See Achilles' heel.)
See also: clay, feet, of
References in classic literature ?
The A-shaped roof was thatched with small branches laid close together and over these long jungle grass and palm fronds, with a final coating of clay.
Odd vases made by his own hand from the clay of the region held beautiful tropical flowers.
On the palm were three little pyramids of black, doughy clay.
I may add that I walked out to the athletic grounds this morning, saw that tenacious black clay is used in the jumping-pit and carried away a specimen of it, together with some of the fine tan or sawdust which is strewn over it to prevent the athlete from slipping.
The clay pipe smoked utterly out, the old black, by aid of the crutch, with amazing celerity raised himself upstanding on his one leg and hobbled, with his hippity-hop, to the beach.
And so, according to the clay of his nature and the pressure of his surroundings, his character was being moulded into a certain particular shape.
Few phenomena gave me more delight than to observe the forms which thawing sand and clay assume in flowing down the sides of a deep cut on the railroad through which I passed on my way to the village, a phenomenon not very common on so large a scale, though the number of freshly exposed banks of the right material must have been greatly multiplied since railroads were invented.
And not only it, but the institutions upon it are plastic like clay in the hands of the potter.
Dear it is, my clay to me; dear it has been to others.
However, considering the heat of the climate, I did not doubt but if I could find out any clay, I might make some pots that might, being dried in the sun, be hard enough and strong enough to bear handling, and to hold anything that was dry, and required to be kept so; and as this was necessary in the preparing corn, meal, &c.
It would make the reader pity me, or rather laugh at me, to tell how many awkward ways I took to raise this paste; what odd, misshapen, ugly things I made; how many of them fell in and how many fell out, the clay not being stiff enough to bear its own weight; how many cracked by the over-violent heat of the sun, being set out too hastily; and how many fell in pieces with only removing, as well before as after they were dried; and, in a word, how, after having laboured hard to find the clay - to dig it, to temper it, to bring it home, and work it - I could not make above two large earthen ugly things (I cannot call them jars) in about two months' labour.
When I saw them clear red, I let them stand in that heat about five or six hours, till I found one of them, though it did not crack, did melt or run; for the sand which was mixed with the clay melted by the violence of the heat, and would have run into glass if I had gone on; so I slacked my fire gradually till the pots began to abate of the red colour; and watching them all night, that I might not let the fire abate too fast, in the morning I had three very good (I will not say handsome) pipkins, and two other earthen pots, as hard burnt as could be desired, and one of them perfectly glazed with the running of the sand.
Here he went through the not very difficult process of winking upon the company with his solitary eye, to the enthusiastic delight of an elderly personage with a dirty face and a clay pipe.
But as clay in the abstract, when too much moistened, becomes of a weak and uncertain consistency, breaking down in unexpected places, retaining impressions but faintly, and preserving no strength or steadiness of character, so Mr Swiveller's clay, having imbibed a considerable quantity of moisture, was in a very loose and slippery state, insomuch that the various ideas impressed upon it were fast losing their distinctive character, and running into each other.
fist-size lump of plasticine clay * clear plastic container half-filled with water * marker * metric ruler * stack of pennies * paper towel