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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

CLAY, n. and v. Sc. uses. For Sc. forms see Cley.

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-cat, -kat, a bunch of straw mixed with clay used in the building of a mud wall. See Cat, n.3, (2); (4) 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); (5) clay dunt, = 4 (d) (Cai. 1916 T.S.D.C. II.); (6) clay-half, the western part of the Montrose peninsula, where the soil is of a clayey nature; see Shed; (7) clay-hallan, see Hallan; (8) claysched, = (6); (9) clay-thack, thatch held in position by clay (as opposed to ropes); used attrib. in quot. Ppl.adj. clay-thackit, used fig. caked, plastered (with dirt, etc.); (10) clay-theeker, = 4 (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)Ags. 1838 Wilson's Tales of the Borders IV. 238: 
I would mak the clay-cats, an we might pit up a lum . . . The clay-cats were made, and carried in.
Per. 1879 P. R. Drummond Bygone Days 426: 
"A wooden fender, too!" - observing a cart-wheel fillie before the clay kat.
(4) (a) Abd.15 1920:
“Clay Davie's sin! ” shouts one boy to another. “Haud yer tongue! Your father's jist a Jock Hock (ploughman).”
(6) Ags. 1820 Montrose Chron. (16 June) 241/1:
To be let . . . from five to six acres of Ground in the Clay-half of Montrose.
(8) 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.
(9) 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.
Abd. 1956
She cam in tae the hoose clay thackit wi' dirt.

II. v. With up:

(1) To close or seal up with or as with clay. Obs. in Eng. 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).Slg. 1862 D. Taylor Poems 19, 169: 
Doors up and windows up he clay'd. . . . Od I wish my frien, Robin, wad clay up its een.

(2) To inter, bury. Bwk. 1869 J. Landreth Fastern's E'en 41: 
In the expressive dialect of the locality he had "clayed up" the latter.

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"Clay n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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