American English

Definition of soil noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    [uncountable, countable]
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  1. 1the top layer of the earth in which plants, trees, etc. grow poor/dry/acid/sandy/fertile, etc. soil the study of rocks and soils soil erosion
  2. 2(literary) a country; an area of land It was the first time I had set foot on African soil.
  3. Thesaurussoildirt mud dust clay land earth groundThese are all words for the top layer of the earth in which plants grow.soil the top layer of the earth in which plants grow:Plant the seedlings in damp soil.dirt soil, especially loose soil:Pack the dirt firmly around the plants.mud wet soil that is soft and sticky:The car got stuck in the mud.dust a fine powder that consists of very small pieces of rock, earth, etc:A cloud of dust rose as the truck pulled away.clay a type of heavy sticky soil that becomes hard when it is baked and is used to make things such as pots and bricks:The tiles are made of an area of ground, especially of a particular type:an area of rich, fertile landearth the substance that plants grow in or where people are buried after they dieground an area of soil:The ground was still wet from the rain. They drove across miles of rough, rocky ground. Ground is not used for loose soil:a handful of dry groundPatterns good/rich soil/land/earth fertile/infertile soil/land/ground to dig (at/in) the soil/mud/clay/land/earth/ground to cultivate/plow the soil/land/earth
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: soil