[ suhb-soil ]
/ ˈsʌbˌsɔɪl /


the bed or stratum of earth or earthy material immediately under the surface soil.

Nearby words

  1. subsistence farming,
  2. subsistence level,
  3. subsistence wage,
  4. subsistent,
  5. subsocial,
  6. subsoil plow,
  7. subsoiler,
  8. subsolar,
  9. subsong,
  10. subsonic

Origin of subsoil

First recorded in 1790–1800; sub- + soil1

Also called undersoil. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for subsoil

British Dictionary definitions for subsoil


/ (ˈsʌbˌsɔɪl) /


  1. Also called: undersoil the layer of soil beneath the surface soil and overlying the bedrock
  2. (as modifier)a subsoil plough


(tr) to plough (land) to a depth below the normal ploughing level and so break up the subsoil
Derived Formssubsoiler, noun

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 subsoil



1799, from sub- + soil (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for subsoil


[ sŭbsoil′ ]

In an ABC soil, the B horizon. The term was formerly used to mean the layer of earth below the humus or surface soil.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.