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[lohm] /loʊm/
a rich, friable soil containing a relatively equal mixture of sand and silt and a somewhat smaller proportion of clay.
a mixture of clay, sand, straw, etc., used in making molds for founding and in plastering walls, stopping holes, etc.
earth or soil.
Obsolete. clay or clayey earth.
verb (used with object)
to cover or stop with loam.
Origin of loam
late Middle English
before 900; late Middle English lome, earlier lam(e), Old English lām; cognate with Dutch leem, German Lehm loam, clay; akin to lime1
Related forms
loaminess, noun
loamless, adjective
loamy, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for loam
Historical Examples
  • The plants do very well in loam, and best of all in a dry sandy soil.

  • The loam should be slightly moist, and free from organic matter.

  • I prefer medium to high land, with a clay and loam soil on a subsoil of clay and sand; any slope is better than southwest.

    The Apple Various
  • A stiff, half-clay soil with some loam is best suited to this crop.

    Agriculture for Beginners Charles William Burkett
  • Every plant had all the loam, light, water, air and nourishment it could use.

    2 B R 0 2 B Kurt Vonnegut
  • loam: an earthy mixture of clay and sand with organic matter.

    Agriculture for Beginners Charles William Burkett
  • It finds a congenial home in damp peat, shaded from the sun, and may be propagated by cuttings in loam and peat under glass.

  • Pot in August in loam, leaf-soil, or peat, and a little manure and sand.

    The Book of Bulbs Samuel Arnott
  • It should be grown in a mixture of loam and peat, and may be increased by cuttings planted in sand under glass in a little heat.

  • He is there by now, all clad with loam and full of his news.

    The Serf Guy Thorne
British Dictionary definitions for loam


rich soil consisting of a mixture of sand, clay, and decaying organic material
a paste of clay and sand used for making moulds in a foundry, plastering walls, etc
(transitive) to cover, treat, or fill with loam
Derived Forms
loamy, adjective
loaminess, noun
Word Origin
Old English lām; related to Old Swedish lēmo clay, Old High German leimo
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for loam

Old English lam "clay, mud, mire, earth," from Proto-Germanic *laimaz (cf. Old Saxon lemo, Dutch leem, German Lehm "loam"), from PIE root *(s)lei- "slimy" (see slime (n.)). As a type of highly fertile clayey soil, it is attested from 1660s. As a verb from c.1600.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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loam in Science
Soil composed of approximately equal quantities of sand, silt, and clay, often with variable amounts of decayed plant matter.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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