humus

noun

hu·​mus ˈhyü-məs How to pronounce humus (audio)
ˈyü-
geology : a brown or black complex variable material resulting from partial decomposition of plant or animal matter and forming the organic (see organic entry 1 sense 1a(2)) portion of soil

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Guests learn to use senses beyond just sight to experience the wilderness, like smelling the earthy scent of tree bark or the rich humus of the forest floor, and listening to the sound of a mountain stream or the song of a Pacific wren. Jayme Moye, Condé Nast Traveler, 25 July 2022 While feminine in aesthetic, once embedded onto a beach, the plant both prevents sand dunes from moving against strong winds and eventually becomes the humus soil that gives rise to other organisms. Cheryl Tiu, Forbes, 11 Nov. 2022 It’s not like growing vegetables that need a soil full of rich humus; native plants typically grow out of very lean soils. Los Angeles Times, 7 July 2022 Fallen trees, colonized by fungi and other detritovores, are crumbling into humus. Verlyn Klinkenborg, The New York Review of Books, 6 July 2022 Organic matter serves as food for earthworms, insects, bacteria and fungi that transform it to soil nutrients and humus. oregonlive, 7 Feb. 2022 Tall grasses grew on the site for millions of years, and their decomposition created a dark, rich humus that would later prove ideal for cotton farmers. Dennis Pillion | Dpillion@al.com, al, 12 Nov. 2021 The resulting holes admit water, air, fertilizer and humus-creating organic matter to the root systems. Washington Post, 7 July 2021 Older wetlands in areas surveyed by Delta-X aircraft are more diverse, their soil rich with humus from generations of plants. Fox News, 29 June 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'humus.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

New Latin, from Latin, earth — more at humble

First Known Use

1796, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of humus was in 1796

Dictionary Entries Near humus

Cite this Entry

“Humus.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/humus. Accessed 4 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

humus

noun
hu·​mus ˈhyü-məs How to pronounce humus (audio)
ˈyü-
: a brown or black product of partial decay of plant or animal matter that forms the organic portion of soil

Medical Definition

humus

noun
hu·​mus ˈhyü-məs How to pronounce humus (audio) ˈyü- How to pronounce humus (audio)
: a brown or black complex variable material resulting from partial decomposition of plant or animal matter and forming the organic portion of soil

More from Merriam-Webster on humus

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?

PLAY