lay·​er | \ ˈlā-ər How to pronounce layer (audio) , 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
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 How to pronounce layer (audio) , ˈlerd \ adjective

Examples of layer in a Sentence

Noun 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 Verb We layered the fruit with whipped cream and served it with cookies.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Galveston's shoreline was also coated in a rare layer of snow by the beach. Kaelan Deese, Washington Examiner, "Severe cold ravages middle and Southern states, while a tornado strikes North Carolina," 16 Feb. 2021 Bri then adds on a gutting emotional and familial layer to her decision. Ariana Romero,, "The Bachelor Brushed Past Bri’s Life-Altering Reveal. It’s Part Of A Much Bigger Problem," 16 Feb. 2021 Wrapped inside are crisp wheat crackers, a layer of fried egg and lettuce, making each bite texturally rich. Soleil Ho, San Francisco Chronicle, "For the year of the ox, Bay Area's food community is grounding itself," 15 Feb. 2021 The Ghee Hoody is my favorite all-synthetic base layer. Matt Jancer, Wired, "20 Best Deals From Winter Clearance Sales This Week," 12 Feb. 2021 Wipe the scratched area clean and apply a layer of non-gel toothpaste. Sara Rodrigues, House Beautiful, "How to Remove Scratches From Glass," 12 Feb. 2021 Milk Bar is an award-winning bakery known for its familiar, yet unexpected desserts, including Milk Bar Pie, the Compost Cookie and unfrosted layer cakes. oregonlive, "Last-minute Valentine’s Day gifts that look well planned: Cooking classes? Flowers, chocolate, wine are ready for pick up or delivery," 11 Feb. 2021 Rapid testing offers another layer of mitigation, but comes with limitations and can result in false negatives. Elaine Ayala, San Antonio Express-News, "Ayala: San Antonio rodeo a potential super-spreader event," 9 Feb. 2021 Each layer of Krimes’s cosmos is also covered with flying figures, muscular ballerina bodies hand-drawn with colored pencils. Leslie Jamison, The Atlantic, "The Breathtaking Ingenuity of Incarcerated Artists," 7 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb To do this, start with a disposable medical mask and layer a cloth mask on top. Eve Sneider, Wired, "Vaccine Progress, New Mask Guidelines, and More Coronavirus News," 12 Feb. 2021 To assemble the sponge, layer the mesh piece between the cotton and terrycloth pieces, right sides together. Emily Vanschmus, Better Homes & Gardens, "How to Make Your Own Zero-Waste Sponges," 22 Jan. 2021 Over time, though, sets of mutations can layer on top of one another and accumulate, and the virus begins to function differently. James Hamblin, The Atlantic, "The Evolution of the Coronavirus," 15 Jan. 2021 Emin’s acrylic paintings, in feral drips and streaks, often layer one image onto another. Jay Cheshes, WSJ, "Tracey Emin’s New Margate Home and Studio, Revealed for the First Time," 9 Dec. 2020 As the heat retreats, layer the Wick beneath mid and outer layers for the same performance. Natalie Krebs, Outdoor Life, "The Ultimate Hunting Gift Guide for Women," 18 Nov. 2020 To help patients who are sent home, some hospital systems and home-health firms, including Amedisys, are building new, often tech-heavy programs that layer on extra services and aim to reproduce aspects of nursing-home-level care in patients’ homes. Anna Wilde Mathews, WSJ, "Covid Spurs Families to Shun Nursing Homes, a Shift That Appears Long Lasting," 21 Dec. 2020 Another expert tip is to layer them in order of lightest to heaviest in texture. Karina Hoshikawa, Allure, "The 23 Best Moisturizers for Dry Skin All Year Round," 5 Dec. 2020 The full-length zipper makes the hoodie easy to layer when the day starts off chilly. Mark Heim |, al, "Christmas gifts for the Alabama Crimson Tide fans in your life," 15 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for layer

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for layer

Last Updated

22 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Layer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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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 How to pronounce layer (audio) \

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 How to pronounce layer (audio) \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on layer

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for layer

Nglish: Translation of layer for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of layer for Arabic Speakers

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