the fertile, upper part of the soil.

verb (used with object)

to cover (land) with topsoil.

Origin of topsoil

First recorded in 1860–65; top1 + soil1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for topsoil

land, dirt, terrain, shore, surface, coast, mud, clay, dust, turf, gravel, sand, clod, sod, muck, compost, deposit, mold, fill, marl

Examples from the Web for topsoil

Historical Examples of topsoil

British Dictionary definitions for topsoil



the surface layer of soil

verb (tr)

to spread topsoil on (land)
to remove the topsoil from (land)
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

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

topsoil in Science



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

topsoil in Culture


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


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


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.