Definition of soil noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//sɔɪl//
    ; NAmE NAmE//sɔɪl//
    [uncountable, countable] Growing crops
    jump to other results
  1. 1  the 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 Synonymssoilmud dust clay land earth dirt 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.mud wet soil that is soft and sticky:The car wheels 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 set off.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 clay.land an area of ground, especially of a particular type:an area of rich, fertile landearth the substance that plants grow in. Earth is often used about the soil found in gardens or used for gardening:She put some earth into the pot.dirt (especially North American English) soil, especially loose soil:Pack the dirt firmly around the plants.ground an area of soil:The car got stuck in the muddy ground. They drove across miles of rough, stony 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 the soil/​mud/​clay/​land/​earth/​ground to cultivate the soil/​land/​ground See related entries: Growing crops
  2. 2(literary) a country; an area of land It was the first time I had set foot on African soil.
  3. Word Originnoun late Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French, perhaps representing Latin solium ‘seat’, by association with solum ‘ground’.Extra examples Keep the soil moist and fertilize weekly. Rich loamy soils produce the largest leeks. She bought a bag of potting soil. She first set foot on French soil at a small Channel port. Soil samples taken from the site revealed massive amounts of radiation. The clay soils of the region are difficult to work. The flowers do well in sandy soil. declining soil fertility fields of newly turned soil protests over the siting of nuclear weapons on British soil the place where she first set foot on Canadian soil Cutting down forest trees can lead to serious soil erosion. In the valley the soil was waterlogged. It was the first time I had set foot on American soil. Much of the soil is still contaminated and can’t be used. Plant the seedlings in damp soil. The soil here isn’t very good.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: soil