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topsoil

[top-soil]
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noun
  1. the fertile, upper part of the soil.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to cover (land) with topsoil.
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Origin of topsoil

First recorded in 1860–65; top1 + soil1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

landdirtterrainshoresurfacecoastmudclaydustturfgravelsandclodsodmuckcompostdepositmoldfillmarl

Examples from the Web for topsoil

Historical Examples

  • If the topsoil is very poor, get some good, rich, black soil.

    The Library of Work and Play: Gardening and Farming.

    Ellen Eddy Shaw

  • We start out in about a foot of topsoil, then some hard rock and then more hard rock.

    Operation Earthworm

    Joe Archibald

  • The prairie vole makes a tortuous network of paths through the grass and honeycombs the topsoil with its tunnels.

  • In Brazil the best soil is known as terra roxa, a topsoil of red clay three or four feet thick with a gravel subsoil.

    All About Coffee

    William H. Ukers

  • Bless the red-skins who bred maize, the great preserver of life and damn them for breeding maize the great destroyer of topsoil.

    The Syndic

    C.M. Kornbluth


British Dictionary definitions for topsoil

topsoil

noun
  1. the surface layer of soil
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verb (tr)
  1. to spread topsoil on (land)
  2. to remove the topsoil from (land)
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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 topsoil

n.

1836, from top (n.1) + soil (n.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

topsoil in Science

topsoil

[tŏpsoil′]
  1. The upper portion of a soil, usually dark colored and rich in organic material. It is more or less equivalent to the upper portion of an A horizon in an ABC soil.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

topsoil in Culture

topsoil

The thin, rich layer of soil where most nutrients for plants are found.

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Note

Most of the land-based biological activity of the Earth takes place here.

Note

The loss of topsoil through erosion is a major agricultural problem.
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.