Clay Surname Origin
Locality. A town of France in Seine. A lake on the isle of Lewis, Scotland. Clee, hills in Wales. Cle, left-handed, a place lying to the left, in relation to another place. Cledh, cloid, and cladd, in the Gaelic, Welsh, and British, signify a ditch, a trench, a wall; cladh, a church-yard; cledd, Welsh, a sword; Gaelic, claiheamb, from which we have Claymore, a large sword. The same word in Welsh and Gaelic that signifies a river is often applied to a sword, from their resemblance in glittering brightness.
Source: An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names With an Essay on their Derivation and Import; Arthur, William, M.A.; New York, NY: Sheldon, Blake, Bleeker & CO., 1857.
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