lay·er | \ˈlā-ər, ˈler\

Definition of layer 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : one that lays something (such as a worker who lays brick or a hen that lays eggs)

2a : one thickness, course, or fold laid or lying over or under another

b : stratum

c : horizon sense 2

3a : a branch or shoot of a plant that roots while still attached to the parent plant

b : a plant developed by layering


layered; layering; layers

Definition of layer (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to propagate (a plant) by means of layers

2a : to place as a layer

b : to place a layer on top of pancakes layered with butter and syrup

c : to form or arrange in layers

intransitive verb

1a : to separate into layers

b : to form out of superimposed layers

2 of a plant : to form roots where a stem comes in contact with the ground

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Other Words from layer


layered \ˈlā-ərd, ˈlerd \ adjective

Examples of layer in a Sentence


Everything was covered by a thin layer of sand. The top layer of the rug is badly worn but the bottom layer is still OK. The cake has three layers. She glued together several layers of paper. He was wearing several layers of clothing. rocks that formed in layers from flows of lava


We layered the fruit with whipped cream and served it with cookies.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Considering that so often our guests are members of our own family adds another layer of darkness to the equation. Kate Wagner, Curbed, "Our homes don’t need formal spaces," 11 July 2018 Blueberries want damp growing media, so water regularly during our hot summer months and add a layer of mulch at the top of the container to retain moisture. Stan Davidson,, "With patience, blueberries can be grown in containers," 10 July 2018 Make sure your pool has layers of protection: a four-sided fence, with a self-closing, self-latching gate, alarms and a cover. Lisa Cianci,, "Pool safety tips to prevent child drownings," 3 July 2018 But the attraction also had to do with the fact that Cora has so many layers. Hugh Hart,, "With 'The Sinner,' Jessica Biel leaps 'into the darkest of the dark'," 20 June 2018 In line with the rest of the Hopeless Fountain Kingdom story, the violence is filled with fervor and has layers of subtext to unpack. Sam Tornow, Billboard, "Halsey & Lauren Jauregui Duke It Out In Trailer for Long-Awaited 'Strangers' Video: Watch," 18 June 2018 Ri Yong Guk, a North Korean defector who once served on the late Kim Jong Il’s security detail, wrote in a 2013 memoir that the former North Korean despot had up to six different layers of security guards. Fox News, "Kim Jong Un's running bodyguards back in action in Singapore for US-North Korea summit," 10 June 2018 Buddha’s Temple’ This succulent has mesmerizing layers of leaves that look as if an origami artist folded them. Michelle Slatalla, WSJ, "Plant Swaps: The Cheap Way to Score Rare Houseplants," 7 June 2018 Along with her go-to black cat eye and a nude lip, the star almost always has a layer of makeup covering the freckles on her nose and under her eyes. Jillian Ruffo,, "Ariana Grande Goes Blonde, Ditches Signature Ponytail and Shows Her Freckles for Vogue UK Cover," 4 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The gas is turned into a plasma at extremely high temperatures, releasing carbon pieces, which are then layered onto a diamond seed in the vacuum chamber. New York Times, "How to Make a Synthetic Diamond," 29 May 2018 There’s beat boxing tracks that are layered into the real drum tracks of these songs. Nicole Sands,, "Charlie Puth Talks New Album Voicenotes: 'I Was Tired of Faking It' — This Is the 'Real Me'," 11 May 2018 XIV Karats made custom anklets out of diamonds, pearls, and rosaries, which were layered together. Chioma Nnadi, Vogue, "The Making of a Met Gala Icon: Stylist Mel Ottenberg Breaks Down Rihanna’s Best Looks," 9 May 2018 Designed in conjunction with German chemical company BASF, Boost is squishy foam cushioning that is layered into the shoe to increase comfort and energy transfer. Tik Root,, "Adidas has gotten a Boost," 2 Apr. 2018 The coverage is described as medium, but the product dries down quickly and can easily be layered for an opaque, full-coverage finish. Bella Gerard,, "The Only 3 Foundations That Cover My Cystic Acne Scars—But Still Look Natural," 27 Feb. 2018 There's the new Tatouage Couture, the brand's superpigmented, matte liquid lip stain that's available in 28 shades, as well as the Touche Éclat Glow Shot Highlighter, a liquid luminizer that can be layered to create an intense glow. Sophia Panych, Allure, "Halsey Named Yves Saint Laurent Beauté's Newest Face — and She Does Her Own Makeup," 7 Feb. 2018 Put that saffron to good use: Also known as tachin, this crispy baked Persian rice is often layered with meat, dried fruit, spices, and presented in a rectangular shape. Andy Baraghani, Bon Appetit, "What Is Saffron, the World's Most Legendary Spice?," 5 Feb. 2018 But Marmot stuffed the bag with a mix of three cutting-edge synthetic fibers layered together in strips: one thin for thermal efficiency, another thicker for durability, and a third less compressible to preserve loft. Outside Online, "The Best Sleeping Bags and Pads of 2018," 15 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'layer.' 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 layer


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1832, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Phrases Related to layer

dress in layers

layer cake

Statistics for layer

Last Updated

20 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for layer

The first known use of layer was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for layer



English Language Learners Definition of layer

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an amount of something that is spread over an area

: a covering piece of material or a part that lies over or under another

: a bird that lays eggs



English Language Learners Definition of layer (Entry 2 of 2)

: to form or arrange parts or pieces of something on top of each other : to form or arrange (something) in layers


lay·er | \ˈlā-ər \

Kids Definition of layer

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : one thickness of something laid over another a layer of rock

2 : a person who lays something

3 : a bird that lays eggs


layered; layering

Kids Definition of layer (Entry 2 of 2)

: to form or arrange one thickness of something over another We layered the fruit with whipped cream.


lay·er | \ˈlā-ər, ˈle(-ə)r \

Medical Definition of layer 

1 : one thickness, course, or fold laid or lying over or under another

2 : stratum sense 1 the outer layers of the skin

Other Words from layer

layer verb

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Comments on layer

What made you want to look up layer? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reject or criticize sharply

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