- the portion of the earth's surface consisting of disintegrated rock and humus.
- a particular kind of earth: sandy soil.
- the ground as producing vegetation or as cultivated for its crops: fertile soil.
- a country, land, or region: an act committed on American soil.
- the ground or earth: tilling the soil.
- any place or condition providing the opportunity for growth or development: Some believe that poverty provides the soil for crime.
Origin of soil1
- to make unclean, dirty, or filthy, especially on the surface: to soil one's clothes.
- to smirch, smudge, or stain: The ink soiled his hands.
- to sully or tarnish, as with disgrace; defile morally: to soil one's good name.
- to become soiled: White soils easily.
- the act or fact of soiling.
- the state of being soiled.
- a spot, mark, or stain.
- dirty or foul matter; filth; sewage.
- ordure; manure.
Origin of soil2
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- to feed (confined cattle, horses, etc.) freshly cut green fodder for roughage.
Origin of soil3
Examples from the Web for soil
Marx forecast that the profit motive would lead to overworking and exhausting the fertility of our soil and other natural systems.American Democracy Under Threat for 250 Years
December 28, 2014
The others are difficult to identify, since they reacted with other oxygen-bearing molecules in the soil.Methane on Mars: Life or Just Gas?
Matthew R. Francis
December 17, 2014
Under the new requirements, simply being born on U.S. soil would no longer be enough.The Progressive Case Against Birthright Citizenship
December 15, 2014
The ground was fertile, with alluvial, or unconsolidated, soil.Ester Elchies, The Estate Built By Whiskey
December 10, 2014
In an interview with The Daily Beast in September, Paul said he was against the idea of U.S. forces on Middle East soil.Rand Paul Declares War on ISIS—and Allows Boots on the Ground
November 24, 2014
The people have no right to the soil in the eyes of these political economists.The Roof of France
When our brethren departed, we could not tear our aged roots out of the soil.Old News
I've known the answer ever since I first turned the soil of this farm.Dust
Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius
The soil is hard, and the crop after the expenditure of much toil is often very scanty.English Villages
P. H. Ditchfield
In fact, Gryphus was beginning to dig the soil with his crooked fingers.The Black Tulip
Alexandre Dumas (Pere)
- the top layer of the land surface of the earth that is composed of disintegrated rock particles, humus, water, and airSee zonal soil, azonal soil, intrazonal soil, horizon (def. 4), horizon (def. 5) Related adjective: telluric
- a type of this material having specific characteristicsloamy soil
- land, country, or regionone's native soil
- the soil life and work on a farm; landhe belonged to the soil, as his forefathers had
- any place or thing encouraging growth or development
- to make or become dirty or stained
- (tr) to pollute with sin or disgrace; sully; defilehe soiled the family honour by his cowardice
- the state or result of soiling
- refuse, manure, or excrement
- (tr) to feed (livestock) freshly cut green fodder either to fatten or purge them
Word Origin and History for soil
early 13c., "to defile or pollute with sin," from Old French soillier "to splatter with mud, to foul or make dirty," originally "to wallow" (12c., Modern French souillier), from souil "tub, wild boar's wallow, pigsty," which is from either Latin solium "tub for bathing; seat," or Latin suculus "little pig," from sus "pig." Literal meaning "to make dirty, begrime" is attested from c.1300 in English. Related: Soiled; soiling.
c.1300, originally "land, area, place," from Anglo-French soil "piece of ground, place" (13c.), from an merger or confusion of Old French sol "bottom, ground, soil" (12c., from Latin solum "soil, ground;" see sole (n.1)), Old French soeul, sueil "threshold, area, place" (from Latin solium "seat"), and Old French soil, soille "a miry place," from soillier (see soil (v.)).
Meaning "place of one's nativity" is from c.1400. Meaning "mould, earth, dirt" (especially that which plants grow in) is attested from mid-15c.
"filth, dirt, refuse matter, sewage, liquid likely to contain excrement," c.1600, earlier "miry or muddy place" (early 15c.), from Old French soille "miry place," from soillier (v.) "to make dirty," and in part a native formation from soil (v.). This is the sense in archaic night-soil.
- The loose top layer of the Earth's surface, consisting of rock and mineral particles mixed with decayed organic matter (humus), and capable of retaining water, providing nutrients for plants, and supporting a wide range of biotic communities. Soil is formed by a combination of depositional, chemical, and biological processes and plays an important role in the carbon, nitrogen, and hydrologic cycles. Soil types vary widely from one region to another, depending on the type of bedrock they overlie and the climate in which they form. In wet and humid regions, for example, soils tend to be thicker than they do in dry regions. See more at A horizon B horizon C horizon. See illustration at ABC soil.