soil

1
[soil]
||

noun

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.

Nearby words

  1. soi-disant,
  2. soi-distant,
  3. soigne,
  4. soigné,
  5. soignée,
  6. soil bank,
  7. soil binder,
  8. soil conditioner,
  9. soil conservation,
  10. soil creep

Origin of soil

1
1300–50; Middle English soile < Anglo-French soyl < Latin solium seat, confused with solum ground

Related formssoil·less, adjective

soil

2
[soil]

verb (used with object)

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.

verb (used without object)

to become soiled: White soils easily.

noun

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 soil

2
1175–1225; Middle English soilen (v.) < Old French souiller, soillier to dirty < Vulgar Latin *suculāre, equivalent to sū(s) pig + -cul(us) -cle1 + -āre infinitive ending

soil

3
[soil]

verb (used with object)

to feed (confined cattle, horses, etc.) freshly cut green fodder for roughage.

Origin of soil

3
First recorded in 1595–1605; origin uncertain

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for soil


British Dictionary definitions for soil

soil

1

noun

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

Word Origin for soil

C14: from Anglo-Norman, from Latin solium a seat, but confused with Latin solum the ground

verb

to make or become dirty or stained
(tr) to pollute with sin or disgrace; sully; defilehe soiled the family honour by his cowardice

noun

the state or result of soiling
refuse, manure, or excrement

Word Origin for soil

C13: from Old French soillier to defile, from soil pigsty, probably from Latin sūs a swine

verb

(tr) to feed (livestock) freshly cut green fodder either to fatten or purge them

Word Origin for soil

C17: perhaps from obsolete vb (C16) soil to manure, from soil ² (n)

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

Word Origin and History for soil
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for soil

soil

[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.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Culture definitions for soil

soil

Material on the surface of the Earth on which plants can grow. (See topsoil.)

Note

Soil is produced by the weathering of rocks.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.