hu·​mus | \ ˈhyü-məs How to pronounce humus (audio) , ˈyü- \

Definition of humus

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

Examples of humus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Roots excrete some of it into the soil, feeding underground microbes, which poop and die and aggregate with decomposing flora and fauna to form humus, a dark, crumbly substance that is 50 to 60 percent carbon. Brian Barth, Popular Science, "The secret to curbing farm emissions is buried in the Stone Age," 1 Apr. 2020 But the recycling of organics is arguably more important than that of plastics, metal, or paper. Composting transforms raw organic waste into a humus-like substance that enriches soil and enhances carbon capture. Rivka Galchen, The New Yorker, "How South Korea Is Composting Its Way to Sustainability," 2 Mar. 2020 The presence of recognizable plant parts as well as plant fibers and darkly colored humus indicates an ideal rate of decomposition. Julie Monahan, Good Housekeeping, "10 Easy Soil Tests," 9 Sep. 2015 Her ideas are inspired by Australian soil health educator Graeme Sait, owner of Nutri-Tech Solutions, who advocates building humus and healthy soil to improve crop yields. Los Angeles Times, "Don’t pull the weeds in Rainbeau Mars’ edible garden," 12 Sep. 2019 There, the waste is heated in aerated piles, returned to humus, tested for contaminants and sold to the public for $23 a cubic yard. Mike Klingaman,, "How a Columbia gardener turns his tiny plot into a full-fledged feast," 4 June 2019 For blueberries to thrive, the soil must be well aerated, moist, very high in humus, and—most important of all—very acidic. The Editors Of Organic Life, Good Housekeeping, "Your Guide To Growing The Most Delicious Blueberries," 14 Mar. 2017 Learn more about growing these versatile shade garden plants: How to Grow Hostas Plant hostas in evenly moist, humus-rich soil in light to full shade. Kris Wetherbee, Good Housekeeping, "How to Grow the Most Stunning Hostas," 7 Aug. 2018 If food in landfills just turned into rich humus for the garden, there wouldn't be as much of a problem. Debbi Snook,, "Cleveland's food rescuers help feed the hungry, grow more food (photos, recipes)," 18 Apr. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of humus

1796, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for humus

New Latin, from Latin, earth — more at humble

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Time Traveler for humus

Time Traveler

The first known use of humus was in 1796

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Cite this Entry

“Humus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for humus


How to pronounce humus (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of humus

: a brown or black material in soil that is formed when plants and animals decay


hu·​mus | \ ˈhyü-məs How to pronounce humus (audio) , ˈyü- \

Kids Definition of humus

: the dark rich part of earth formed from decaying plant or animal material


hu·​mus | \ ˈhyü-məs How to pronounce humus (audio) , ˈyü- How to pronounce humus (audio) \

Medical Definition of humus

: a brown or black complex variable material resulting from partial decomposition of plant or animal matter and forming the organic portion of soil

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More from Merriam-Webster on humus

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for humus

Nglish: Translation of humus for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about humus

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