[ ley-er ]
See synonyms for: layerlayeredlayeringlayers on

  1. a thickness of some material laid on or spread over a surface: a layer of soot on the windowsill; two layers of paint.

  2. something lying over or under something else; a level or tier: There can be multiple layers of metaphor in a single poem.

  1. a bed; stratum: alternating layers of basalt and sandstone.

  2. a person or thing that lays (often used in combination): a carpet layer;a bricklayer.

  3. a hen kept for egg production.

  4. one of several items of clothing worn one on top of the other.

  5. Horticulture.

    • a shoot or twig that is induced to root while still attached to the living stock, as by bending and covering with soil.

    • a plant so propagated.

  6. Ropemaking. a machine for laying rope or cable.

verb (used with object)
  1. to make a layer of.

  2. to form or arrange in layers.

  1. to arrange or wear (clothing) in layers: You can layer this vest over a blouse or sweater.

  2. to cut (hair) in overlapping layers of different lengths: My hairdresser insisted on layering my hair at my last visit—I rather like it this way.

  3. Horticulture. to propagate by layering.

verb (used without object)
  1. to separate into or form layers.

  2. (of a garment) to permit of wearing in layers; be used in layering: Frilly blouses don't layer well.

Origin of layer

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English leyer, legger; see origin at lay1, -er1

Other words from layer

  • lay·er·a·ble, adjective
  • in·ter·lay·er, noun
  • in·ter·lay·er, verb (used with object)
  • non·lay·ered, adjective

Words Nearby layer Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use layer in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for layer


/ (ˈleɪə) /

  1. a thickness of some homogeneous substance, such as a stratum or a coating on a surface

  2. one of four or more levels of vegetation defined in ecological studies: the ground or moss layer, the field or herb layer, the shrub layer, and one or more tree layers

  1. a laying hen

  2. horticulture

    • a shoot or branch rooted during layering

    • a plant produced as a result of layering

  1. to form or make a layer of (something)

  2. to take root or cause to take root by layering

Origin of layer

C14 leyer, legger, from lay 1 + -er 1

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