Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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CLAY, n. and v. Sc. uses.

I. n.

1. Dim. clayag, a clay pipe (Cai.7 1937). Cai. 1929 Caithness Forum in John o' Groat Jnl. (27 Dec.):
Well, now you have it; licht up yer auld clayag an' try yir mathematics on 'at.

2. Phr.: the face of clay, see Face.

3. Combs.: ‡(1) clay-an'-dubber, a builder of houses with mud walls; one who does cat-an'-clay work (Abd.15 1920, obsol.); also used attrib. and applied to work done by such a builder; (2) clay bug, “a common clay marble” (Uls. 1880 W. H. Patterson Gl. Ant. and Dwn.); (3) clay davie, (a) a farm servant, agricultural labourer (Abd.9 1937; Kcb.4 c.1900); (b) a drainer or navvy (w.Abd. 1916 T.S.D.C. II.; Abd.9 1937); (c) “a thatcher who uses clay to fix the thatch on a roof” (Abd.15 1925); (d) “a kind of boy's marble” (Cai. 1916 T.S.D.C. II.); (e) “a hod” (Abd.7 1925); (4) clay dunt, = 3 (d) (Cai. 1916 T.S.D.C. II.); (5) clay-half, the western part of the Montrose peninsula, where the soil is of a clayey nature; see Shed; (6) clay-hallan, see Hallan; (7) claysched, = (5); (8) clay-thack, thatch held in position by clay (as opposed to ropes); used attrib. in quot.; (9) clay-theeker, = 3 (c) (Abd.15 1925). (1) Abd.15 1920:
Outbuildings on a croft in the Gamrie district were built about 25 years ago in the clay-an'-dubber style on an outlying area called “Todderyauves.”
(3) (a) Id.:
“Clay Davie's sin! ” shouts one boy to another. “Haud yer tongue! Your father's jist a Jock Hock (ploughman).”
(5) Ags. 1820 Montrose Chron. (16 June) 241/1:
To be let . . . from five to six acres of Ground in the Clay-half of Montrose.
(7) Ags. 1891 J. G. Low Memorials Parish Church of Montrose 29:
Whiteberry croft was bounded on the east by that portion of the town anciently called the “sand hauch” or sand-half, as distinguishing it from the “claysched” or clayhalf, in which the Whiteberry croft was located.
(8) Bnff. 1880 J. F. S. Gordon Chron. of Keith Intro. p. viii.:
Our Domestic “Clay-thack” abodes have yielded to a far preferable Order . . . not only in our Street-Architecture, but in Farm-Houses and Steadings.

II. v. As ppl.adj. with up: applied to the eyes “when boxing has blinded them” (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 136); also to anything choked up (Kcb.9 1937).

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"Clay n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 May 2021 <>



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