One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Clay coloured red by its iron content; specifically (a) soil with a high content of red clay; (b) a red or reddish-brown fine-grained deposit covering large areas of the ocean floor, containing windblown particles, meteoric and volcanic dust and debris, and insoluble organic remains.
Late 15th century; earliest use found in Surgical Treatise. From red + clay.
red clay/ˌrɛd ˈkleɪ/
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